WrestleGrade Yearly Awards 2018

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This year has been incredible for Professional Wrestling, from all over the world wrestling has been in peak form. Here are my picks for the Top Ten Best Wrestlers of the Year, Top Ten Best Matches of the Year, Top Five Best Tag Teams of The Year, Top 5 Women’s Wrestlers of the Year,  Best Promotion of The Year, Best Wrestling Show of The Year, Best Feud of the Year, and what wrestler to look out for in 2019.

Top 5 Best Tag Teams of 2018:

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5. Aussie Open, The current Progress Tag Team Champions had an amazing year this year for the UK independent scene. Mark Davis is a big powerful dude filled with agility and having had battles with Walter for the Atlas Title, Kyle Fletcher is a great high-flyer and the mixing of these guys styles makes for often incredible matches. While their solo stuff might be some of their best work this year when they team together they’ve had great matches with the likes of Timothy Thatcher and Chris Brookes. They also shined big time in the Progress Tag Team Gauntlet match picking up the victory with a great performance. The future is only looking bright for Aussie Open. 

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4. So Cal Uncensored, the ROH Natives got over this year in a big way. At All In, in September these guys were one of the hottest acts in the business. The bold characters in SCU have also had some great matches this year including a banger at Final Battle with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky battling the Briscoes and The Young Bucks. There is a great mix of comedy wrestling and in-ring skill when these guys are on however now that they have left ROH you have to wonder where they go from here. 

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3. The Rascalz, while these guys didn’t strike the mainstream until very late in the year when they debuted in Impact, they were absolutely tearing it up in PWG. These guys have had absolute tag team lucha classics with Flamita and Bandido and Pentagon Jr and Fenix. Zachary Wentz and Desmond Xavier are also some of the best high-flyers I’ve ever seen as what they can do in that ring is unique and incredible. Their finisher is Wentz jumping up in the air for a moonsault as Xavier pushes him in mid-air on top of the opponent and it’s incredible. These guys will only continue to strike gold as they make it further in mainstream professional wrestling. 

9602. Undisputed Era, Undisputed ERA made this year so enjoyable in tag team wrestling. The absolutely amazing heel antics and the great tag team work have mixed to deliver some legitimate MOTY contenders. The War Games match was incredible, The series of matches against Mustache Mountain has been incredible, and I don’t think they are anywhere close to stopping. Adam Cole as the frontman has been amazing as he is the perfect mouthpiece for a tag team like this, Kyle O’Reilly is one of the best in-ring talents in the world, and Roderick Strong made a shock move in joining Undisputed ERA and turning heel earlier this year. NXT has been an incredible place for Professional Wrestling and much of the greatness has come from the ERA. 

Being-The-ELite1. The Young Bucks/The Elite, the Bullet Club has absolutely dominated 2018. They have been everywhere popping up into the mainstream frequently, promoting their own event, and having incredible matches along the way. Specifically, the Young Bucks stand out, their matches against the Golden Lovers and The Briscoe/SCU Ladder Match and countless others have made their wrestling stand out leagues above everything else this year. They have become captivating characters that glue your eyes to the screen whenever they come on. This won’t be the only time I talk about The Elite on this list though. 

Promotion of the Year:

Logo_NewJapan_dnNew Japan Pro Wrestling has revolutionized Wrestling this year like no other company has before. The incredible matches stand out a cut above everything any other company put out this year and their expansion into the American Market has been successful. NJPW has skyrocketed themselves into the mainstream with wrestlers like Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Will Ospreay leading the ship. However, NJPW is beginning to have internal conflicts with management and foreigners taking over the spotlight of Japanese Natives but the company still looks to be holding onto greatness heading into Wrestlekingdom 13. 

Best Wrestling Show of the Year:

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NJPW Dominion, This show was stacked, like enormously. The top 3 matches on this show would’ve been MOTY contenders in their own rights. The 1-2-3 punch of Hiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay, Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada ended this show historically. While the undercard also shined as this show had a very good layout the main event stole the show like nothing else. The 70 minutes closer of Okada vs. Omega 4 is one of the greatest matches of all time and boosted this show into the #1 spot of show of the year, in a year that had many amazing NXT Takeovers and All In to be competitors. 

Feud of the Year:

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Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano: The routine tag team breakup feud was done to perfection in NXT this year. Johnny and Ciampa had the perfect dastardly heel and underdog babyface dynamic with the crowd organically cheering for Gargano. Ciampa was one of the best heels in the business to the point where the boos he was getting were so powerful that he had no entrance music. The writing was incredible as well stretching this feud over a year-long and adding different elements to the story over that long period of time. The matches that came out of this feud is the best series of matches since Okada vs. Omega and maybe in WWE history. This feud was the main reason why NXT was preferred over the main roster this year. 

Top 5 Women’s Wrestlers of the Year:

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5. Kairi Sane, Last year’s Mae Young Classic Winner had an amazing year for validating herself in the Women’s Division this year. Winning the NXT Title was huge but what meant even more for her career was the amazing matches she had with Shayna Baszler which are some of the best Women’s Matches of the year. It had taken me a while to buy into the hype around Kairi Sane but she destroyed in NXT this year and made me a believer. 

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4. Ronda Rousey, when she broke onto the scene for the first time in the WWE my initial thoughts were great a female Brock Lesnar is exactly what we need. As much of the critics like myself were shocked this year to see how fast Ronda Rousey became one of the best Women’s Wrestlers in the world. She took over in her debut having an amazing match against HHH and Stephanie Mcmahon with Kurt Angle that surprisingly stole the show. From her debut, she’s had great matches with the likes of Charlotte and Nia Jax. The future looks bright for Rousey if this is the accolades she has in her first year. Going into Wrestlemania, her Main Eventing will be amazing.

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3. Charlotte:  In my opinion, the greatest Women’s Wrestler of all time. While this year she took a back seat to 2 other wrestler’s she still had an overall amazing year. She has had probably the highest number great matches of any other wrestler in WWE this year having classics against Becky Lynch at Evolution, Becky Lynch and Asuka at TLC, and Ronda Rousey a Survivor Series but other than match quality Charlotte has revived Women’s Wrestling in WWE to a point that it has never been before. The Women’s Division is the best thing in WWE currently and that’s due to the work that Flair has put in. 

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2. Asuka: The whole year wasn’t flattering to Asuka losing to Charlotte at Wrestlemania began a downward spiral that she only just recovered from in time to win the Smackdown Women’s Title at TLC in one of the best Women’s Matches I’ve seen. While, the year wasn’t all Asuka’s best work her highs are some of the highest achievements a Woman has ever reached in WWE. She made history winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble and had that amazing TLC match we’ve already talked about a lot. She also played a big role in the revival of the Women’s Division, going into Wrestlemania most likely with the Smackdown Women’s Title it will be interesting to see what match she gets and how she makes the most of it. 

gqz8wr6f0cpzglmgkptz1. Becky Lynch: You probably saw this one coming, the biggest star in WWE for the first time in history is a woman. Her character work is the best of any woman probably in wrestling history. WWE saw how fans reacted to her as a babyface and allowed her to take the ball and run her heel character into superstardom. While her achievements aren’t as spectacular as Asuka or Charlotte’s she has trailblazed like no woman before her has. Her achievements include the TLC match, the Smackdown Women’s Title, a great performance in the Women’s MITB, and the Last Woman Standing Match against Charlotte at Evolution. I’m VERY excited to see where Becky Lynch goes from here. 

Who to Look Out for in 2019:

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Bandido: This is most definitely not the last time you will hear this name not only on this list but future lists to come. Bandido is an incredible talent mixing high flying like you’ve never seen and adding the drama that many luchadores lack. He had an amazing 2018 but is still relatively underground as his biggest exposure was the main event of All In and he’s mostly been a PWG mainstay. Bandido recently signed a Full-Time deal with ROH which will boost him into the spotlight as I expect him to be one of the best luchadores of all time by the time he’s done but he’s just getting started.

Top Ten Matches of 2018:

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10. Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa at NXT Takeover New Orleans, It might be an unpopular opinion to put this match this low on the list but I believe the NXT Takeover Chicago rematch topped this one. This match had an amazing story using the crutch as a weapon to represent the injuries both men have struggled through and it kicked off the 3 match trilogy from Ciampa and Gargano, this was also Ciampa’s return match which makes it even that more surprising that this is an incredible match. The layout on this match was incredible and it main evented one of the best wrestling shows of the year so it was even more memorable. 

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9. Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurrl IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title NJPW Sakura Genesis, any other year this would’ve had no problem whatsoever being the match of the year. These guys have had matches for many different promotions and most of them have been absolute bangers but this takes the cake. It started off fast but nobody would expect Will Ospreay to crush his neck on the apron trying to Spanish Fly Scurrl. Any other wrestler after taking a bump like that would quit and end the match soon but instead the absolute mad lad that Ospreay takes the match to the next level going absolutely insane to retain his title delivering one of the most impressive performances of the year. Marty Scurrl played an amazing heel taking advantage of the neck and trying to stomp it off but Ospreay gets the victory after one of the best IWGP Title matches ever. 

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8. Walter vs. Zack Sabre Jr Progress World Championship Chapter 77: This was a fight and one of the best of the year. Wrestling is often about suspension of disbelief but I had to convince myself that this match was fake. These guys clobbered the shit out of each other with insane strikes and had some amazing submission work. Walter plays an amazing Andre the Giant style unbeatable heel every time he wrestles and that dominance was turned up to 11 in this match. ZSJ rarely plays an underdog but you can see that he was desperate to escape the match with the Progress Title and gave everything he could to win the match. This is my favorite technical match maybe ever.

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7. Jimmy Havoc vs Will Ospreay 2 out of 3 Falls No DQ Match Progress Chapter 75: This was utter chaos and my first big Progress match. The energy in this match was incredible with the crowd being into every second of this 30-minute long saga. This also included a heel Will Ospreay which is undoubtedly the best Will Ospreay and a vengeful Jimmy Havoc which delivered a HARDCORE performance. This was the most brutal match I’ve seen this year as these guys did some insane spots including a Spanish Fly off a balcony by Ospreay onto a table that didn’t break. This match isn’t for the faint-hearted but it was an amazingly entertaining car crash. 

43164558_1153427018130199_1241942089160196096_o-16. Tyler Bate vs. Walter Progress World Championship Chapter 80: At Progress’s biggest ever show in Wembley arena these 2 main evented and it was hard to expect anything other than greatness. This is a modern day Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan but with actual amazing in-ring work and great spots. Tyler Bate played an amazing underdog babyface getting huge crowd reactions when it looked like he was gonna win the match. This was a spectacle and the best ever Progress match and again in any other year would not have an issue being match of the year.

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5. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black NXT Takeover War Games, Another unpopular opinion in having this match this high but I believe this match is severely slept on and one of the best NXT matches of the year while not quite the best. The dynamic was so amazing in the newly heel Johnny Gargano being incredibly fresh and the vengeful Aleister Black being one of the most determined performances of the year. These guys put on an amazing in-ring clinic that mixed in the amazing story to perfection. This match also included one of my favorite spots of the year with Johnny Gargano’s suicide dive being caught by a huge jumping knee by Black. Incredible work by two guys who had an amazing year. 

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4. Shingo Takagi vs. Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb PWG BOLA 2018 Final: Nothing against Shingo Takagi but as soon as he was eliminated from this match it became a MOTY contender. BOLA is a long weekend full of insane matches so it’s easy for the crowd and especially the wrestlers to become sluggish and that happened for about the first 5 minutes of this match but what happened for the rest of the match was something special. The crowd was entirely behind Bandido getting louder and louder making one of the best environments of the year. After every near fall and big spot, the crowd became unglued and it is one of the most exciting things I have ever seen. Jeff Cobb and Bandido put on a great match in its own right but in front of every other crowd, this wouldn’t be on this list. This match was an incredibly exciting, nerve-wracking, and emotional event that I felt I was a part of while I was sitting at home. Wrestling often lacks emotional investment but only one other match made me feel that way. 

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3. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas NXT Championship Takeover Philadelphia: No one really expected this one to be as good as it was. Up until this point, NXT was already better than the main roster but it was still dwarfed in quality compared to NJPW and ROH but this match broke that barrier. NXT was missing that coveted 5-star match and this delivered that. It was 2 of the best in-ring talents in the world doing what they do best. The spots were incredible and this match was wrestled at a pace like I have never seen before. It also had some great manager spots with Zelina Vega and Candice LeRae going at each other. The drama was turned extra high and this match is historically important as it was WWE’s first 5-star match in 7 years. This was a flawless match and really should be MOTY in any other year. 

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2. Tomasso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano NXT Takeover Chicago Street Fight: Another possibly unpopular opinion but I believe this is the greatest WWE match of all time. It was so iconic and had some insane spots, like the exposed ring DDT and the Air Raid Crash off the rafters through a table below. It was chock full of amazing moments and the feud was hotter than it was at Takeover NOLA with Johnny Gargano becoming so desperate to win that he cost himself the match. Tomasso Ciampa was also an incredibly dastardly heel putting Johnny Gargano through hell for the fun of it. One of the best matches of all time is only number 2 on this list though which really should show you how incredible wrestling was this year. 

kazuchika-okada-vs-kenny-omega-njpw-dominion-750x4221. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Title 2 Out of 3 Falls Match: Yeah you probably guessed it. There’s not much I can tell you about this match that hasn’t already been said. It was an absolute saga reaching 70 minutes but not once slowing down, which is incredible. The story was insane too as Kenny Omega had gone from hell and back to try and win the IWGP Heavyweight Title. I haven’t ever been this invested in wrestling, I sat biting my nails for 70 minutes waiting to see if Kenny could end Okada’s amazing championship reign. This match’s spots were top notch too as you would expect from Okada and Omega but the wrestling logic was what really stole the show. For all 70 minutes of the match, something smart was happening as everything legitimately felt like these guys were going through a life-changing experience. It will take a lot to convince me that this isn’t the greatest wrestling match of all time. 

Top Ten Wrestlers of the Year:

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10. Bandido: And we’re back with this guy. Nobody else in the business currently is as impressive as him and he wasn’t shy to show it this year having the MOTY contender against Cobb and Takagi that we’ve already talked about and main eventing All In. The dude also had 2 5-star matches in a single night with the triple threat and an amazing match against Joey Janela. Bandido is an incredible talent that ROH is so lucky to have signed, the future is so scarily bright for this guy and he showed it at every chance he could this year. 

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9. Hiroshi Tanahashi, The Ace of NJPW is one of the best Japanese Natives currently in New Japan and is currently one of the brightest stars there. While the Japanese guys are being taken over by new management and guys like the Elite are being pushed into the mainstream, Hiroshi is keeping his spot strong. This year he had 2 incredible matches against Kazuchika Okada and won the G1 Climax which is one of the biggest accolades in modern wrestling, going into the Kenny Omega main event of Wrestlekingdom 13 I’m excited to see how 2019 treats the John Cena of Japanese Wrestling. 

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8. Tomasso Ciampa, the best heel performance in modern wrestling was turned in this year by Tomasso Ciampa. I’ve probably already talked your ears off about how amazing he was and how amazing his matches with Johnny Gargano were. Not only did he have that amazing sequence of matches he went on to win the NXT Title and have another MOTY Contender match against Velveteen Dream. Tomasso Ciampa is another guy that the future is really bright for as it is hard to forget with the amazing performance he put in that he is still in the so-called “developmental” of WWE. 

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7. Will Ospreay, Ospreay showed this year that he is just so much more than a guy who can do flips. Ospreay has had so many amazing matches this year including the ones against Havoc and Scurrl that we’ve already talked about but also matches against guys like Jay Lethal, Walter, and Hiromu Takahashi come to mind. He has spent most of 2018 being a heel in the UK and a face in Japan showing how versatile he can really be. He is also shifting to becoming a heavyweight in NJPW and going into a match with Kota Ibushi for the Never Openweight Championship the sky is the limit. Ospreay also put his career on the line more times this year than Mick Foley did in his prime so for that Will I’m thankful. Thank U, Next.

b0d98-15421741186422-8006. Kota Ibushi, It took a while for Ibushi to focus on serious wrestling and he finally did this year and took the world by storm. He started the year right with a great match at Wrestlekingdom 12 against Honorable Mention Cody Rhodes and from there reunited Golden Lovers with Kenny Omega which is one of the biggest moments in wrestling this year. Ibushi has had so many amazing matches that it’s hard to keep track of but matches against the likes of Omega, Ishii, and The Young Bucks stand out. Ibushi ends the year with the Never Openweight Title and next year could be the defining year for Kota Ibushi. 

94ee6-1522863097-8005. Zack Sabre Jr, Maybe the greatest technical wrestler of all time had a stand out year in 2018. Having 5-star matches against Walter, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Kazuchika Okada and winning the New Japan Cup defeating New Japan legends in one of the best tournament runs I’ve ever seen. ZSJ has been around the world this year winning championships and wrestling in every single major indy promotion from PWG to Progress to NJPW to ROH he did it all this year and kept it fresh and unique all along the ride. 

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4. Kazuchika Okada, Okada started the year in one of the greatest title reigns of all time and had amazing defenses against Tetsuya Naito at Wrestlekingdom, Zack Sabre Jr at Sakura Genesis, and Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestling Dontaku but the cream of the crop for Okada this year was the greatest professional wrestling match of all time against Kenny Omega. However, since he started the year off hot after the title loss to Omega he began to broke down and had a couple good matches in the G1 and an amazing match against Marty Scurrl at All In but he slowed down and fell from relevancy a little bit. Going into 2019, I hope to see Okada regain momentum and be back on top. 

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3. Walter, The Undisputed King of the Indies this year with his championship reigns in PWG and Progress being incredible and him taking up 2 of the Top 10 match of the year spots makes it easy to see why he is so captivating. Walter is an absolute beast of a man and all of his matches make it seem like he brings his opponent to the brink of death but they always seem to fight back and have extremely captivating matches. Along with his MOTY contenders against Tyler Bate and ZSJ, he has had amazing matches against Timothy Thatcher, Ilja Dragunov, and Shingo Takagi. Still having the Progress Title going into WWE with a deal with NXT UK it will be interesting to see how 2019 plays out for the big man from Austria. 

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2. Kenny Omega, Omega was penciled in for the top spot on this list until he ended the year the way he did. He has a very similar story to Okada building his heat early in the year and being one of the greatest acts in wrestling history. Defining himself with instant classics against The Young Bucks with Kota Ibushi, the famed Okada match, and the solo G1 Climax match against Kota Ibushi. He also had one of the feuds of the year contenders against Cody Rhodes that involved 2 very good matches. Omega started the year with so much momentum he could be called the Greatest of All Time but looking back on the first half at the end of 2018 you wonder where all the momentum has gone. Sure, he’s still IWGP Champ but he hasn’t done much with the title which is in sharp contrast to the last champion Kazuchika Okada who was the greatest ever IWGP Heavyweight Champion. 2019 will be incredibly interesting for Omega, he has a match in 4 days against Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestlekingdom but after that where does he go. Is it WWE time for the face of the alternative? Will he show up in the new All Elite Wrestling Full-Time? Will he stay the Golden Boy of New Japan?

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1. Johnny Gargano, the best babyface in the modern era Johnny Gargano took over wrestling like no one has before. In a place like WWE, Johnny Gargano shined head and shoulders above everybody else this year. Johnny Gargano takes out 40% of the Top Ten Matches of the Year which is an incredible feat and is all around one of the best modern in-ring wrestlers. I have nothing but good to say about Johnny Gargano which is why he just inches by Kenny Omega for wrestler of the year. Going into 2019, he has reformed a heel DIY and is one of the most captivating characters as a tweener going right now. 2019 will be another amazing year for Gargano and the future is bright on the main roster for this guy. 

WWE Tables Ladders & Chairs 2018 Review

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Star Ratings + Results:

  • Carmella and R-Truth defeat Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox to get the #30 Spot in the Royal Rumble @5:37 *
  • The Bar defeat New Day and The Usos to retain the SD Live Tag Titles @12:20 ***3/4
  • Natalya defeats Ruby Riott in a Tables Match @12:46 ***1/4
  • Finn Balor defeats Drew Mcintyre @12:09 ***
  • Rey Mysterio defeats Randy Orton in a Chairs Match@11:30 ***
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Nia Jax to retain the Raw Women’s Title @11:00 ***3/4
  • Daniel Bryan defeats AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship @23:52 ****3/4
  • Dean Ambrose defeats Seth Rollins to win the IC Title @22:52 ***1/4

 

 

Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth and Carmella MMC Final for the Royal Rumble #30 Spot:

  • Is this seriously who’s in the Mixed Match Final?
  • Truth and Mahal start the match. 
  • Annoying dance break mid-match, the Singh brothers join.
  • None of these wrestlers deserve the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble, especially R-Truth. 
  • Hot tag by Truth.
  • Fox goes for the scissor kick on Truth because he stole her hat but Carmella hits a superkick for a near fall. 
  • Sloppy transition into the leg submission thing Carmella does to tap out Fox.

Winner: Carmella and R-Truth get the #30 Spot @5:37!

Rating: *, This is peak annoying for WWE. This is who they chose to fight for the prestigious Royal Rumble spot. The dance break was annoying, the match had no action, and it felt too long at 5 minutes. No Thanks. 

20181203_TLC_TagMatch-7c6aaf1fcfde4804684b818e3a27a687The Usos vs. The Bar(c) vs. New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles:

  • Kofi Kingston and Sheamus start the match. 
  • Strikefest between Usos and Cesaro and Kofi sends Cesaro ringside, Jey goes for a suicide dive but is caught over the ropes with an uppercut by Cesaro. Sheamus catches Woods running with an Irish Curse Backbreaker for a near fall. 
  • The Bar isolating Xavier Woods, Woods hits a draping missile dropkick to Sheamus to open up tags. Hot tag by Kofi. 
  • Jimmy Uso tags himself in blindly, Cesaro catches Kofi mid-air in a vertical suplex hold. Jimmy dives to Kofi to slam him down, great spot.
  • The Usos superkick party everything, doing it a little bit better than the Bucks. And follow it up with a pop-up Samoan Drop on Kofi, near fall save by Woods.
  • Jimmy Uso hits the Frog Splash, Cesaro grabs Uso and throws him into the post to try and steal the pin on Kofi and gets a great near fall. 
  • Cesaro Swing to Kofi goes 12 times and steps into the Sharpshooter, Woods comes in with a DDT through the ropes to Cesaro to break the hold. 
  • Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick, Kofi rolls it up for a near fall. Kingston hits a standing double stomp to Sheamus. Trouble in Paradise by Kofi followed up by the Diving Elbow by Woods for a near fall save by the Usos. 
  • Cesaro knocks Jey Uso down with a pop-up European uppercut. Once everybody goes outside, Kofi hits the diving trust fall to ringside.
  • Through the ropes DDT by Woods gets caught with a Brogue Kick by Sheamus to close the match. 

Winner: The Bar Retains @12:20!

Rating: ***3/4, This was a very fun triple threat tag match between 3 of the best ever WWE tag teams. While it could’ve been much better, I’ve learned to temper my expectations with the WWE but this was very solid. It had some great new spots from these guys that seem to repeat spots over and over especially New Day. The match was surprising and fast-paced and very enjoyable. 

  • Baron Corbin comes down to the ring to propose a match against the injured Braun Strowman with Heath Slater as the referee to get himself the easy win via countout but Strowman returns and brings a ton of Raw people out to attack Corbin capping off with Kurt Angle hitting an Angle Slam and Finn Balor with the Coup De Grace, Heath Slater counts the pin giving Strowman a match against Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble for the Universal Title. 

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Natalya vs. Ruby Riott in a Tables Match:

  • Feud over the late Jim the Anvil Neidhart is a bit cheap. 
  • Natalya tries to german suplex Riott off the apron into a table she fails but decides to spear her off instead, Liv Morgan hops in to take the spear off the apron through the table to save the match for Riott. 
  • Natalya kicks a table into the midsection of Sarah Logan to stop her from interfering.
  • Natalya whips Riott into the barricade, Natalya hits a bodyslam to Logan sending her through a table set up ringside. 
  • Riott pushes Natalya up against the table with Jim Neidhart printed on it getting great heel heat, Riott chucks Natalya into the steel steps. 
  • Riott tries to through Natalya through the table with her father on it but Natalya fights out and locks Riott in the Sharpshooter, Riott dumps the table on Natalya to escape the hold. 
  • Riott struggles to set up the table, Natalya deadlifts her up and hits an electric chair driver.
  • Natalya brings out a table with Ruby Riott printed on it and she grabs the jacket of Jim Neidhart and pays respect. Natalya catches a Riott kick and attempts to dump Riott through her own table but doesn’t succeed and eats a superkick. 
  • Off the middle rope, Natalya hits a powerbomb sending Riott through the table with her on it to close the match. 

Winner: Natalya @12:45!

Rating: ***1/4, Natalya put in an amazing babyface performance knocking out Riott and her squad with intensity. Riott also played an amazing heel and stirred the pot whenever she could. While there were moments of awkwardness and in-ring roughness it was a relatively clean match that told a very good story out of a bad feud. 

20181203_TLC_FinnMcIntyre-4f6b73a4d6edf886dc0fe3ce6ccd4d52Finn Balor vs. Drew Mcintyre:

  • Mcintyre starts the match dominantly.
  • Dropkick to the knee by Balor gets him some space but Drew gets back on top with chops in the corner.
  • Mcintyre gets Balor up on the top rope but Finn breaks free and assaults the leg of Mcintyre. 
  • Huge Belly to Belly suplex by Mcintyre launches Balor across the ring but also hurts Drew’s knee. 
  • Another huge suplex by Mcintyre launches Balor across the ring and gets the first near fall. 
  • Deadlift vertical suplex by Mcintyre shows impressive strength. 
  • Finn Balor hits a comeback sequence but Mcintyre halts it. Balor escapes and hits a double stomp to get him space from Drew. 
  • Tornado DDT by Finn Balor, Balor sends Drew to ringside. Tope con hiro by Balor wipes out Drew. 
  • Slingblade by Balor, shotgun dropkick caught into a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker by Mcintyre for a near fall. 
  • Inverted Alabama Slam by Mcintyre gets rolled into a pinning combo by Balor for a near fall. 
  • Coup de Grade attempt by Balor fails as Mcintyre chops him on the top rope and delivers a great Super Air Raid Crash for a near fall. 
  • Balor traps Mcintyre’s legs in the ring apron and attacks him with strikes. Mcintyre gets free and Finn goes for a penalty kick but Drew knocks him off the apron to a hard landing. Mcintyre hits a stiff headbutt ringside.
  • The referee is distracted as Dolph Ziggler hits a superkick to Mcintyre, Ziggler goes for a steel chair shot but Drew kicks it back into his face. 
  • Finn Balor shotgun dropkicks the chair into Mcintyre then hits a Coup De Grace on the chair to close the match.

Winner: Finn Balor @12:09!

Rating: ***, This was a Raw match on PPV that should’ve been better. The pace was mostly slow except for bursts of offense from Balor and Mcintyre did an okay performance as a dominant heel but took the loss nonetheless. The Dolph Ziggler interference was unnecessary and added nothing. Yet, it was a match between two very talented men and they mixed in some good wrestling here. 

20181211_TLC_MysterioOrton-8b6878662e67fa18fb286f1a26dfcd94Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton in a Chairs Match:

  • Mysterio immediately attacks Orton with a steel chair. Mysterio bounces off a chair and dives at Orton but Orton catches him and sends him into the corner. Orton hits Rey with a steel chair shot in the corner. 
  • Mysterio kicks Orton off the apron and uses the chair as a boogie board to dive under the ropes and crossbody Orton with the chair, great spot. 
  • Rey sits Orton on a chair ringside and goes for a senton but Orton dodges and Mysterio flies hard into the chair.
  • Orton removes the hood of the Raw announce table and places a chair on top of it, Facebuster by Orton drives Rey into the chair on the table. 
  • Mysterio huricanranas Orton into a chair set up in the corner, Orton no sells it and hits a powerslam to get a near fall on Mysterio.
  • Hangman DDT by Orton escapes, Mysterio gets in a failed 619 attempt. Mysterio springboards at Orton but Randy throws a chair at him.
  • Mysterio hits Orton with a chair to the back sending him into the ropes for a successful 619, Orton no sells it again to remove Mysterio from the top rope. Orton slams Rey face first into a chair from the tree of woe. 
  • Orton sets up a row of 4 chairs, Rey flips off the chairs to hit a pinning combination and win the match. 

Winner: Rey Mysterio @11:30!

Rating: ***, This match had a very weird layout but kept interesting with some unique spots. Like most Orton matches, this was really really slow at parts but the energy of Mysterio kept some moments highlights. This was a match ripped from WWE in 2009 but with men who have aged. There was almost no story here but there was a dynamic of cocky heel versus underdog face that was worked decently. 

20181203_TLC_RondaNia-5374273659a0be0ece65e7e242932b82

Ronda Rousey(c) vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Rousey gets Nia in an armbar attempt early buy Jax reverses it into a Sit-out Powerbomb. 
  • Jax throws Rousey into the post and hits a hip attack from the apron jamming the shoulder of Rousey into the post. 
  • Guillotine Choke by Rousey, Jax tries to vertical suplex out of it but Rousey locks in a sleeper from the back, Jax tries to escape but Rousey locks in an armbar. Jax rolls with Ronda to ringside and throws Rousey into the barricade. 
  • Powerbomb attempt by Jax but Rousey huricanranas out. Ronda sidesteps Jax sending Nia into the post. 
  • Rousey climbs the top rope and hits a diving crossbody to ringside to take out Jax in a risky spot by Ronda that was executed greatly. 
  • Rousey fires up and hits Ronda with a series of strikes including an amazing one-two of a step up knee then a superman punch for a near fall. 
  • Diving Crossbody by Rousey but Jax rolls through and hits a Samoan Drop for a great near fall. 
  • Nia Jax climbs the ropes with Rousey on her shoulders but Ronda fights out and powerbombs Nia off the middle rope for a great near fall. 
  • Tamina distracts Rousey so Jax can avoid the armbar and Jax goes for the Facebreaker but Rousey hangs on and goes into an armbar and Nia immediately taps. 

Winner: Ronda Rousey @11:00!

Rating: ***3/4, It’s finally totally hit me how well Rousey has taken to the WWE. She is incredible. She carried one of the worst current wrestlers on the women’s roster to a near 4-star match. She fights with amazing intensity and hits her moves so cleanly. Jax did some good work in this match but most of it was on Ronda’s side. The match felt big and Ronda impressed again. This is yet another showcase of how good women’s wrestling has gotten in WWE. 

20181203_TLC_BryanStyles-a6876e25834c419cc94bdce1b8fecc5dDaniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles WWE Championship:

  • I love this Daniel Bryan more than I love myself.
  • I have high hopes for this match.
  • Daniel Bryan immediately rolled ringside and plays mind games with Styles.
  • Styles clotheslines Bryan to ringside after a flurry of offense begins the match’s momentum. Styles goes for a plancha dive but Bryan catches Styles with a mid-kick in the air.
  • Bow and Arrow lock by Bryan weakens Styles for a while until he gets a rope break. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Bryan, Styles returns the favor with chops of his own in the corner. Bryan strikes him down and gets him in the Tree of Woe to continue and work the back. 
  • Bryan does Yes! Kicks against the ropes until he knocks Styles to ringside.
  • The slower pace at the beginning stretch here. 
  • Corner Dropkicks by Bryan, Styles meets him before the 3rd one with a lariat flipping Bryan. 
  • Spinning Backfist by Styles gets the first near fall. Styles starts to stomp at Bryan’s face similar to how Daniel did after his title win. 
  • Styles sends Bryan into the post and begins to fire up ringside, Styles rolls him back in ring and Bryan tells him to wait, Bryan tries to sucker him in but Styles hits an UshiGoroshi Backbreaker. 
  • Styles goes for the Reverse DDT but Daniel gets a Cravat Locked in, Daniel hits a series of brutal knees and suplexes him back. 
  • No! Kicks by Bryan and the final one clips Styles on the head, near fall.
  • Styles flips out of a suplex attempt by Bryan and hits him with an enzuguri to get space. 
  • Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan kicks him down. Styles gets back up to repeatedly kick out the leg of Styles. 
  • AJ wrenches the knee of Bryan around the post to continue work on the leg. 
  • In-ring, Styles hits a chop block to take out Bryan’s leg. 
  • Avalanche Huricanrana by Bryan rolled into a pin by Styles for a near fall, Styles decides to go for the Styles Clash but Bryan fights out. 
  • Single Leg Boston Crab by Styles locked in on the weakened leg of Bryan, Styles has it deep in the middle of the ring, Bryan slides out and transitions into the LeBell Lock (Yes! Lock) Styles fights into a rollup for a near fall, Bryan gets a roll-up for a near fall. Both kick each other out to end an awesome sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Bryan goes for a Running Knee but eats a dropkick from Styles. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles for a great near fall. 
  • Calf Crusher by Styles locked in and continues to work the injured leg of Bryan, Styles wrenches it in but Bryan finally gets to the ropes. Bryan rolls ringside.
  • “This is awesome” chants go which is impressive because this is a storyline match and not a flip fest like the WWE fans like. 
  • Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade ringside by Styles. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm back in-ring but Bryan dodges, Running Knee by Bryan misses, Styles rolls up Bryan for a near fall but Daniel rolls up Styles for the win. 

Winner: Daniel Bryan @23:53!

Rating: ****3/4, This was INCREDIBLE and easily the best thing WWE has given us this year. This was a barnburner but didn’t feel long at all, I never wanted this to end. These guys told an incredible story and Daniel Bryan is the best heel in the world right now even though that’s a weird sentence today. The WWE crowd resonated with the storyline too getting this is awesome chants even though the match was never at a breakneck speed. They mixed the typical amazing in-ring work like always and had a lot of great technical wrestling moments in here too. This was a stand-out match in a bad year for the WWE. 

20181203_TLC_RollinsAmbrose-44570fe3d6dd94cae95dacb67ffeab87

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title:

  • This has been one of WWE’s better feud this year mostly because of an incredible performance from Dean Ambrose. 
  • Rollins runs at Ambrose ringside, Dean catches him and drops him face first on the announce table.
  • Corey Graves keeps talking about Renee Young’s relationship with Ambrose which makes the commentary hilarious because she gets awkward as hell.
  • Ambrose whips Rollins into the corner and on the rebound hits a discus lariat for the first near fall. 
  • Diving standing elbow by Ambrose for another near fall, Dean is working at a dominant slow pace. 
  • Ambrose goes for a ton of pins and doesn’t get any and becomes frustrated. 
  • The crowd is very quiet and has been all night. 
  • Ambrose begins to work the knee of Rollins and locks in a Cloverleaf, Rollins grabs the ropes. 
  • Suicide Dive attempt by Rollins gets caught with a fist by Ambrose from ringside. 
  • Rollins lariats Ambrose to ringside and is finally able to hit the suicide dive on 2 different sides of the ring.
  • Rollins goes for a sunset bomb off the top rope but can’t get it due to his knee calling back his injury from a while ago. Rollins still powers him up for the buckle bomb though.
  • Strikefest into a Double Crossbody taking both out. Fuck this crowd man. 
  • Another strikefest into a Wheelbarrow Facebuster by Ambrose for a near fall.
  • Rollins goes for the Falcon Arrow but the knee gives in and he drapes himself over the top rope, Ambrose hits a flying clothesline taking Rollins off the top rope for a near fall. 
  • “This is boring” chants.
  • Ripcord Knee by Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Frog Splash by Rollins, Ambrose gets the knees up and rolls up Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Super Falcon Arrow by Rollins for a near fall. 
  • Rollins went for the superkick but Ambrose wanted the Shield fist bump and Rollins knocks Dean down and hits the superkick. They brawl to ringside. 
  • Buckle Bomb into the barricade by Rollins. 
  • Rollins slaps Ambrose and fires up and runs at him, Ambrose hits a Dirty Deeds for the win. 

Winner: Dean Ambrose New Champion @22:52!

Rating: ***1/4, the crowd ruined a match that was a genuine fight with so much great storytelling. Yes, this was a disappointing match but it wasn’t boring or even bad. I kept expecting it to end via DQ or Countout but Ambrose won cleanly which no one expected. The match never kicked into really any gear but kept itself running off of great storytelling. I want them to get another chance to put on a banger because I believe this match should’ve been better than it was. It was worked really slowly which is shocking from Rollins and Ambrose but the crowd really took a shit on this one. 

20181203_TLC_WomansTripleThreat-4bf3facf9a279574f9caa3bc1b30b6fc

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka in a TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Title:

  • I am so so happy that this is main eventing. 
  • Flair and Lynch begin to argue so Asuka takes them both out.
  • Asuka and Flair bring in ladders, Flair shoves the ladder out onto Asuka on the floor. 
  • Flair sets up a table in the corner and smashes Asuka’s face into it but it doesn’t break, while Lynch is focused on Asuka Lynch sets up a ladder but Flair boots the ladder into her face.
  • Spear by Flair countered into a codebreaker by Asuka. 
  • Asuka slams Lynch off the top rope into a hard landing on a ladder.
  • Flair starts to climb the ladder but Asuka pulls her down, Asuka powerbombs Flair through a table set up in the corner. 
  • Asuka starts to climb the ladder but Lynch knocks her off with a missile dropkick. 
  • Hip attack by Asuka knocks Lynch off the apron, Flair fires at Asuka with a chair shot. With both ringside, Flair hits a diving moonsault off the top rope. 
  • Flair sets up a table, Lynch starts to attack both Flair and Asuka with a chair. Flair throws Lynch into the barricade. 
  • With Asuka and Flair on the announce table, Lynch begins to climb up a huge ladder and flies down with a senton hitting brutally on Flair but not Asuka who rolls off. Great spot. 
  • Lynch and Asuka begin to climb a ladder in the ring, Flair comes back with a kendo stick to attack both getting them off the ladder. 
  • Lynch hits a Bexploder against a table on the barricade to Charlotte, Asuka goes crazy with kendo stick shots to Lynch.
  • Amazing spear through the barricade by Flair sends Asuka into the crowd. 
  • Lynch begins to climb the ladder in-ring, Flair grabs her down and they stare off. Lynch and Flair strike off and look intense, they begin to fight ringside and Flair unloads with chops. 
  • Flair sets Lynch up on a table ringside, Amazing Swanton bomb off the top rope through the table below by Flair.
  • Flair climbs up the ladder but Asuka runs up to meet her, they strike off for the title. Lynch brings in a ladder to the side of the other ladder, Flair knocks Asuka down. Lynch and Flair strike off for the title now. Ronda Rousey comes down and dumps Becky and Charlotte off setting up a match at Wrestlemania. 
  • Asuka climbs up the ladder to great crowd response and wins the match. 

Winner: Asuka New Champion @22:39!

Rating: ****3/4, This was another incredible match out of nowhere and it’s amazing to see how far the women have come in WWE. This main evented a PPV for another reason than the fact that they were women which to me is the biggest step in the evolution so far. These 3 ran through insane spots while working really clean and stories were getting continues, Rousey comes out to attack Lynch and Flair and Asuka completes her dream. This was similar to a match like Lesnar vs. Rollins vs. Cena from Royal Rumble 2015 but an amazing step in history for women’s wrestling. I’m proud this was the last WWE match this year. 

Grade: A-

Last Word: This is without a doubt one of WWE’s best shows in the past 2 years. While unfortunately, that isn’t saying much this show feels like a huge step in the right direction. While outside of 2 amazing matches the show suffered from being really long and WWE’s typical lame booking, those 2 matches were some of the best WWE matches in a long time. Styles vs. Bryan was an amazing storytelling technical match and Asuka vs. Flair vs. Lynch made history and looked great doing it. While WWE still has it’s problems they are now realizing what they can do to make it better. I believe Vince Mcmahon is stepping down on Monday and giving control of the company to his kids who while HHH loves killing the indies, the WWE will be in more relevant hands. I’m looking forward to 2019 because this show sets a precedent for what could be. 

ROH Final Battle 2018 Review

edited

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Kenny King defeats Eli Isom @8:58 ***
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Hangman Page @13:30 ****1/2
  • Kelly Klein defeats Sumie Sakai, Karen Q, and Madison Rayne @13:40 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Jonathan Gresham @12:22 ***1/2
  • Matt Taven defeats Dalton Castle @15:51 **
  • Marty Scurrl defeats Christopher Daniels to Retain his Title Shot and Retire Daniels @17:42 ***1/2
  • Flip Gordon defeats Bully Ray in an I Quit Match @14:22 ***1/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Cody to Retain the ROH World Title @23:25 ****1/4

Eli Isom vs. Kenny King:

  • Eli is a promising young talent but gets slammed by Kenny King in a pre-match promo saying he’s not good enough.
  • King starts the match off with a cheap shot. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Tope Con Hilo by King takes out Isom ringside. 
  • Solid academic leapfrog sequence allows Isom to take control for the first time. Tope Con Hilo by Isom returns the favor taking out King ringside. 
  • King begins to dominate again and does a good job of being the cocky dominant heel.
  • Suplex Stunner by King gets the first near fall on Isom.
  • Isom is a little rough around the edges but can work great for someone who’s been in the industry for a year.
  • Isom powerbombs out of a Triangle hold by King for a near fall. 
  • King dumps Isom off the springboard and hits a chinchecker/flying hotshot/blockbuster combo to follow, King gets a near fall but pulls Isom up to continue to dominate. 
  • Royal Flush by King rolled into a small package by Isom for a great near fall.
  • Gory Special/Pinning Combo 1-2 by Isom for another near fall. 
  • King catches Isom mid-air and hits a Royal Flush for the win. 

Winner: Kenny King @8:57

Rating: ***, The dynamic between the cocky dominant heel and the young upstart was really good in this match but Isom had shown that he wasn’t technically sound as much of the match was dead space but both men turned in very good acting performances in a good story. 

Jeff Cobb(c) vs. Hangman Page for the ROH TV Title:

  • The match starts fast and furious. 
  • Page dropkicks Cobb to ringside, Page goes for the Apron Shooting Star Press but Cobb catches him with an overhead suplex. Awesome spot. 
  • Lionsault by Page for the first near fall.
  • Amazing dropkick by Cobb hits Page on the top rope, Cobb follows it up with a great stalling superplex he only gets one count on Page but follows it up with a Standing Moonsault. 
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Cobb misses Page.
  • Crossbody by Cobb but Page rolls through with amazing strength to hit a fallaway slam. Another awesome spot. 
  • Page lariats Cobb to the outside to follow it up with a suicide dive which takes out Cobb ringside. Page goes to the top rope and moonsaults down to the floor taking Cobb out again.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page, One Count. Page hits another one for a near fall.
  • Strikefest turns into a staredown, Cobb knocks Page into the corner and deadlifts him up into a Tombstone Piledriver for a great near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Headbutt by Cobb knocks Page onto the apron, Cobb runs at Page but gets caught with a Buckshot Lariat.
  • Rite of Passage attempt by Page is rolled through into an F5 for a near fall. 
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb into an amazing crucifix counter by Page for a great near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page caught into a Tour of the Islands followed by another one to close. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Retains @13:30!

Rating: ****1/2, This match was outstanding and intense. These 2 mixed with each other amazingly and the crowd was red hot. This is what ROH was founded on. Jeff Cobb is one of the sleeper picks for wrestler of the year and drops another instant classic. The spots here were insane and it was one of the most fun, well-paced matches I’ve seen from ROH this year. 

Sumie Sakai vs. Karen Q vs. Madison Rayne vs. Kelly Klein for the Women of Honor Title:

  • Double Strikefests to start the match.
  • Sumie Sakai and Madison Rayne face-off to start the action after initial chaos. 
  • Crossbody by Rayne for the first near fall on Sakai. 
  • Sakai rolls into a Coquina Clutch but Karen turns both women into a Double Boston Crab, Sakai and Rayne escape. 
  • Klein chucks Sakai to ringside taking her out of the match momentarily. 
  • Q and Klein decide to team up and take out Rayne. After being dominated for a while, Rayne fires up and hits a Crucifix Bomb on Q for a near fall.
  • Chain Bomb led by Klein but Sakai stays on the top rope and hits a missile dropkick to Klein.
  • Q and Klein face-off, K Power Slam by Klein finishes Karen Q from the match.
  • Tornado DDT by Rayne to Klein for a near fall. 
  • Cutter by Rayne on Sakai gets really close near fall. 
  • Smashmouth by Sakai on Rayne but she can’t capitalize and Klein pushes Sumie aside to get the pin and eliminate Madison Rayne. 
  • Sakai takes Klein down into a Cross Armbreaker but Klein holds the fingers together and powerbombs out of it but Sakai keeps it locked, Kelly eventually gets to the ropes.
  • Smashmouth by Sakai to Klein gets a close near fall. 
  • Deadlift Powerbomb by Klien gets another near fall. 
  • K Power by Klein slams Sakai and gets yet another close near fall. 
  • Klein hits a Super K Power slam to win the women’s title.

Winner: Kelly Klein New Champion! @13:40

Rating: ***, The match was worked at a rushed pace and not much was sold but it finally felt like ROH was invested in the Women’s Division. Klein is hopefully a good person to take the title and make it prestigious because Sumie Sakai absolutely sucked as champion. Klein turned in a great performance but the rest of the women were lackluster. This was a little bit better than okay because it was driven by drama for having a new champion. 

Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre Jr:

  • Amazing technical match-up.
  • ZSJ slaps Gresham before the bell rings. 
  • Both attempt pinning combinations beginning the heat of the match 4 minutes in.
  • Some solid mat work into an Octopus Lock by ZSJ but Gresham fights into his own Octo Lock, ZSJ rolls through and applies the hold on the ground beginning the mat work again. 
  • Stiff chopfest into a hard arm stomp by ZSJ, Gresham comes up to fight back and the strikes fly harder and faster. Gresham hits an enzugiri/German Suplex combo for a near fall but Jonathan flies back with a stiff forearm. Single leg crab by Gresham locked in but ZSJ transitions it into a Triangle Choke, Gresham fights out. 
  • Octopus Stretch attempt by Gresham rolled into a deeply wrenched ankle lock by ZSJ, Gresham gets his own ankle lock but ZSJ escapes and takes Gresham down with a Penalty Kick.
  • Springboard Moonsault by Gresham into a pinning combo but it’s blocked by ZSJ and he gets in a roll-up of his own for the win. 

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr @12:22

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great technical match but never stepped into another gear due to the abrupt finish. It was great to see Gresham get his much-deserved exposure but I expected more from this match. Yet, the final product was actually pretty good and was a refreshing take on an ROH show. 

Dalton Castle vs. Matt Taven for Taven’s “Real” World Title:

  • Castle’s first big match since returning from injury.
  • Matt Taven gets great heel heat and comes out with his fake world title belt.
  • Castle looks like he’s put on some weight during his injury sabbatical. 
  • The match starts with a strikefest that transitions into a brawl ringside.
  • Series of ducked clotheslines in the corner goes on for a while and Castle and Taven stare down afterward. 
  • Kick of the king by Taven knocks Dalton off the apron but Castle is caught by the Boys getting Dalton back in-ring to take advantage.
  • Taven dodges a crossbody by Castle sending him ringside, Taven hits a suicide dive but attempts another one but misses and eats the barricade brutally. Castle flies at Taven with a running knee.  
  • Taven whips Castle into the entrance steps as Dalton hits the bad back. 
  • Backbreaker by Taven attacks the back of Castle and gets the first near fall. 
  • The match begins to come apart and the pace gets really slow. 
  • DDT by Taven after a series of strikes gets a near fall on Castle. 
  • TK O’Ryan from the Kingdom takes out Castle with the referee distracted, The Boys take out TK with a suicide dive. Vinny Marseglia comes out from the bottom of the ring and takes out the Boys. 
  • Taven clocks Castle with the title belt with the referee distracted but gets a great near fall. 
  • Roll-up by Castle gets a near fall and Castle begins to fire up but Taven clocks him with a stiff Penalty Kick to knock both down.
  • Running knee by Castle to Taven draped over the top rope sends Matt to the floor. A great Bangarang into the post by Castle lays out Taven.
  •  Powerbomb by Castle, TK throws one of the boys to break up the pin. The referee ejects TK.
  • Bangarang by Castle gets a very close near fall as Taven gets a last-second rope break. 
  • Another Bangarang attempt by Castle, Taven hits the Climax DDT to win the match.

Winner: Matt Taven Retains His Fake Belt @15:51

Rating: **, This match was really lethargic. It had so much going on but the in-ring work never reached another gear. The story is a weird attempt at a 2011 CM Punk with a fake belt. The story never really got too over with me. Dalton Castle is coming back after an injury but wasn’t effective in this match. He looks worse and doesn’t wrestle with the same spirit and fire he normally does. Matt Taven is just genuinely annoying and I’d let that go if this was a solid in-ring match but it wasn’t and it was severely overbooked. 

Christopher Daniels vs. Marty Scurrl Title Shot against Career:

  • Christopher Daniels might be going to the E if he loses this match, Daniels is an ROH legend and this match could be great as a sendoff to either the big league or retirement. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Scurrl, Daniels fires up with chops of his own. Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Daniels shuts down Marty.
  • Superkick off the apron by Scurrl misses, Daniels hits a great springboard Arabian Moonsault taking out Scurrl on the floor.
  • Superplex by Scurrl.
  • Apron Superkick is successful by Scurrl, Mary whips Daniels into the barricade. Scurrl superkicks Chris while he is set up on a chair. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Scurrl to the back of Daniels for a near fall. 
  • Half and Half Suplex by Scurrl, Daniels pops up to hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and both are taken out. 
  • Daniels fires up and hits a comeback sequence into a Wheelbarrow Facebuster for a near fall. 
  • Bodyslam/Lionsault combo by Daniels for another near fall.
  • Chopfest into a discus elbow by Scurrl knocking Daniels down. 
  • Graduation by Scurrl blocked into a roll-up by Daniels for a near fall. Mary fights into hitting a Package Piledriver for a near fall. 
  • Chicken Wing attempt by Scurrl into a roll up by Daniels for a near fall. Daniels lifts up Scurrl and slams him down with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. 
  • Tombstone Piledriver by Scurrl with an Undertaker pinfall for a near fall, Scurrl breaks the fingers of Daniels and rolls into another Chicken Wing attempt it fails but Marty snaps the fingers of Daniels again. 
  • Daniels goes for Angel’s Wings but the fingers can’t lock in due to the snaps but Marty can’t capitalize. Daniels finally gets the Angels Wings but gets a great near fall. 
  • Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels blocked, Scurrl hits a lariat knocking down Daniels. 2 Superkicks by Scurrl into a Neck Stomp and a Graduation by Scurrl for a great near fall. 
  • Neck Stomps by Scurrl knock out Daniels, Scurrl locks in the Chicken Wing and taps out Daniels. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl Retains His Title Shot and Retires Christopher Daniels @17:42!

Rating: ***1/2, the match was a slight disappointment and was a weird way for Daniels to go out but Scurrl delivered a great desperate performance and the drama was cranked high towards the end. The story resonated with me and is a bit of a passing of the torch. The ending sequence was amazing too with Scurrl having to resort to brutally stomping on the neck of Daniels to win. The match was driven by a great story which makes up for the almost lackluster in-ring work. 

Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon I Quit Match:

  • Bully Ray attacks Christopher Daniels and transitions into the next match. 
  • Flip Gordon makes his entrance through the crowd in a tactical vest with an American Flag. 
  • Flip comes hot out of the gates and the commentary does a great job of selling how much of a dick Bully Ray is. 
  • Bully Ray sets up a table ringside.
  • Flip’s girlfriend is ringside looking like she couldn’t give half a shit. 
  • Flip gets another table and places it in the ring. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip from inside the ring to the floor stopping his momentum. 
  • Ray punches Flip with a chain wrapped around his fist.
  • Bully Ray takes out Bobby Cruise the ring announcer, Todd Sinclair the lead referee yells at Bully but Ray lays out Sinclair. Christopher Daniels comes back to take a kendo shot instead of ROH Ambassador Cary Silkin. Flip Gordon hits a plancha wiping out Bully but busting himself open. 
  • Bully Ray backdrops Flip over the table, Flip is asked if he quits answer is no. 
  • Bully grabs Flip’s girlfriend and attempts to powerbomb her through a table, Flip almost quits but Cary Silkin hits Bully with a kendo stick to save Flip’s girl. Flip’s girl low blows Bully.
  • Flip grabs the American Flag and hits Bully with it. Flip looks like a genuine hero. Flip gets Bully in a crossface with the flagpole but Silas Young comes down to save Ray from quitting. 
  • Silas Young drenches the set-up table with lighter fluid, Cheeseburger comes out to attack Young but gets planted with a Misery Slam from Silas. 
  • Colt Cabana comes down with a chair and attacks Bully and Silas. Young low blows Colt and throws him to ringside. 
  • They try to light the table on fire but the lights go out and ECW legend Sandman comes back out of nowhere to attack Silas with a Kendo Stick. Star Spangled Stunner by Flip and Gordon attacks Bully with 2 kendos making Bully quit. 

Winner: Flip Gordon @14:22!

Rating: ***1/4, This was fun over-booking nonsense with all of ROH and Sandman coming to take down Bully Ray who is one of the most convincing heels in a while. Flip looked like an amazing face but the match lacked any substance and was just a run-in car crash for 15 minutes. It was fun and that was all it needed to be. 

Cody vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship:

  • Rematch from Cody’s ROH debut 2 years ago at Final Battle. 
  • Jay Lethal’s attire reflects the list that Cody put out when he became independent of wrestlers he wanted to face.
  • Pre-match promo by Cody gets himself heel heat by telling the crowd to kiss his ass. 
  • Jay Lethal grabs the mic and says he is ROH and he will take Cody out. There are WWE vibes to Cody’s future. 
  • Cody sells a knee injury early on and Lethal acts super awkward about it by just laying on him with a front face lock. 
  • Cody pops back up having sold the injury and cheap shots Lethal.
  • Cody plays up the crowd getting very solid heat but Lethal comes out to brawl with him ringside. 
  • Hip toss dropkick hits for Lethal getting the first near fall. 
  • Cody dominates the match keeping the pace really slow.
  • Cody goes for the disaster kick but misses as Lethal takes out the knee with the brace on it. Lethal stomps on the knee on the apron. Lethal wraps Cody’s knee around the post twice and hits a dropkick forcing Cody’s knee into the post. 
  • Lethal continues to work the knee in-ring and the pace slows down again. 
  • Lethal rolls up Cody after a failed Figure 4 attempt but the referee is distracted by Brandi missing the near fall. 
  • Spear by Brandi with the bionic shoulder into a Cross Rhodes by Cody for a great near fall on Lethal. 
  • Lethal goes for Shattered Dreams out of Goldust’s moveset but the referee gets in the way, Lethal dodges Brandi and Brandi spears Cody. Lethal Injection attempt accidentally hits Brandi, Lethal is distracted and Cody hits the Cross Rhodes for another great near fall. 
  • Figure Four Leg Lock by Cody but the bell rings, Hangman is shown as who rung the bell and gives him the title belt but the referee stops it, Lethal goes for the Figure 4 but Cody gets a near fall roll up. 
  • Cross Rhodes by Lethal for another good near fall. 
  • Diving Elbow Drop by Lethal but Cody gets the knees up, Cody hits the Bionic Elbow paying tribute to Dusty. Lethal lariats Cody to ringside and hits 6 Consecutive Suicide Dives which is insane. Cody comes back in the ring and spits at Lethal to stop the 7th one. Vertebreaker by Cody for a great near fall. 
  • Lethal kicks Cody sending him into the referee, Lethal cheats and hits Cody with a title belt getting a lot of heat. Lethal mocks Stardust and hits 2 consecutive superkicks into a Lethal Injection and then hits another 2 superkicks but Cody grabs the 2nd Lethal Injection, Figure Four locked in for Lethal, Lethal drags him back into the middle of the ring and Cody taps. 

Winner: Jay Lethal Retains @23:25!

Rating: ****1/4, This was a saga and was investing even when the pace was really slow. The whole theme of representing honor from Lethal was great and Cody played an amazing heel. By the end, Lethal had become desperate and had to cheat to win with the title belt shot to the leg. This match pulled a successful double turn and that’s hard to do. Both played their hits and the match had an amazing closing sequence. From top to bottom, this was a ride from 2 of the best wrestlers in the modern wrestling world. The only con was the Cody antics that plagues some of the beginning moments but Cody eventually became a very good part of this match. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks Ladder War for the ROH Tag Titles:

  • Huge Match.
  • The Briscoes try to isolate Nick Jackson but Matt dropkicks a chair into Jay’s face. Huricanrana by Kazarian sends Matt into Jay Briscoe for a DDT, solid spot. 
  • Twisting Cutter by Matt Jackson to Mark Briscoe off the apron. 
  • Diving Stomp off the apron by Mark Briscoe sends Scorpio Sky through a table. 
  • Kazarian is busted open from a chair shot from the Briscoes. 
  • Mark puts a ladder around his head and helicopters SCU down. The Bucks hit a double superkick to the ladder on the head of Mark.
  • Matt Jackson powerbombs Jay Briscoe into a ladder set-up in the corner. 
  • Stereo Suicide Dives by the Bucks take out The Briscoes and they stand tall for a little bit. The Bucks can 2 sweet again and do. 
  • Kazarian climbs the ladder for the first time in the match but the Young Bucks stop him. SCU and the Bucks fight to climb the ladder. Kazarian and Nick throw the ladder at each other but Matt comes through to spear Frankie down. Stereo Superkicks by the Bucks take out SCU and the Bucks try to climb again but Kazarian stops Nick with a springboard Codebreaker grabbing Nick off the ladder. 
  • The Briscoes return to the match to throw chairs at Kazarian stopping him from climbing the ladder. Backdrop by the Briscoes send the legs of Kazarian into a ladder set-up in the corner.
  • Scorpio sends Jay into a chair set up in the corner then the Bucks hit the see you later apron spot but with a chair. Scorpio hits a great tope con hiro taking out Mark, Nick hits a great diving corkscrew taking everyone out, Jay Briscoe stops Matt from making a dive and throws him from the other side of the ring to the outside through a table. 
  • Jay grabs a staple gun but Kazarian hits a low blow to avoid the intense violence. 
  • Amazing Assisted Cutter off the apron by SCU through a table ringside to Mark Briscoe, fantastic spot. 
  • Matt Jackson has a sledgehammer and Jay Briscoe says to bring it on, Matt superkicks him instead. The Bucks hit a pop-up spear on Sky. 
  • Amazing avalanche huricanrana by Scorpio into a set-up ladder to Nick Jackson.
  • Matt Jackson climbs the ladder but Mark Briscoe takes him down and hits a backbreaker sending Matt through a chair attacking the injured back. 
  • Hard Assisted Tornado DDT by SCU to Nick plants him on his head ringside. 
  • Mark Briscoe climbs a ladder in the corner, Sky meets him on the top, Matt Jackson spears Scorpio off the ladder. Meltzer Driver intercepted with a cutter off the ladder by Mark. Jay hits the Jay Driller piledriver and everybody is wiped out.
  • Mark Briscoe sets up a ladder up against another ladder and tries to powerbomb Kazarian through it but it doesn’t work. Kazarian pulls Jay off the ladder and hits a Styles Clash on a chair. Kazarian and Mark fight on the top of the ladder, Kazarian knocks Briscoe down as he crashed through the ladder he set up. Nick Jackson comes up to battle with them but Jay dumps him off the ladder all the way through a table set up ringside.
  • Jay Briscoe hits Kazarian with a ladder as he crashes down through a table below, Mark grabs the belts for the win. 

Winner: The Briscoes @22:32!

Rating: ****1/2, This was utter chaos and one of the most brutal matches I’ve seen this year. It was a car crash in the best possible way for near half an hour. It was incredible to see what these guys could do and all 3 teams delivered great performances here. It was carnage and it was beautiful, The Briscoes are now 10 time ROH tag titles. 

Grade: B

Last Word: This year was decently lackluster for ROH but it is capped off on a really good note. Cobb vs. Page, Lethal vs. Cody and The Ladder War were all bangers. Christopher Daniels is retired and the WWE shadow glooms heavily over this show. ROH has had a ton of filler storylines and annoying champions which is the case tonight in matches like Taven vs. Castle or The Women’s 4-Way but the main gripe with this show is it’s intensely long run time. The matches were draining and by the end, it was hard to get through any more wrestling but the wrestling on this show was great. Lethal vs. Ospreay is still the best ROH match this year though. 

Progress Chapter 79: One Big Neck With Sausage Hands Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Jordan Devlin defeats Mark Andrews @11:17 ***1/2
  • Laura Dimatteo and Jinny defeats Nina Samuels and Charlie Morgan @9:20 **
  • Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc Never Starts due to brawling before the bell
  • Jordynne Grace defeats Isla Dawn @8:03 ***1/4
  • Trent Seven defeats Kyle Fletcher to retain the Atlas Title @18:46 ****1/2
  • Anti-Fun Police defeat Team Tremendous @13:57 ***
  • Eddie Dennis defeats Mark Haskins @15:56 ***3/4

Jordan Devlin vs. Mark Andrews:

  • Crowd firmly behind the Finn Balor trainee Jordan Devlin.
  • Roll up battle between the two goes on for a bit and begins the momentum 2 minutes in and the 2 flip out to stare at each other. The match is on. 
  • Handshake but Devlin pulls Mandrews in and hits an uranage for a near fall, Devlin is a very solid heel. 
  • Devlin grabs in a Surfboard Lock and transitions it into a rollup for a near fall. 
  • Both are prominent in NXT UK.
  • Mandrews ducks under Devlin and hits a uranage, Mandrews goes for a springboard wheelbarrow but Jordan catches him with a German Suplex to stop the sequence of high flying moves. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster hits by Andrews for a near fall. 
  • Northern Lights Suplex rolled into a Standing Moonsault by Mandrews but Devlin gets the knees up to evade it. 
  • Corkscrew Cutter by Devlin hits in the corner for another near fall. 
  • Stundog Millionaire into a Shooting Star Press attempt by Andrews but Devlin catches him on the top rope with an enzugiri, Mandrews hits a great avalanche frankensteiner for a great near fall. 
  • Superkick by Devlin followed up by a Saito Suplex goes for a near fall. Devlin finishes it with the Last Call Powerslam.

Winner: Jordan Devlin @11:17

Rating: ***1/2, This was a solid academic high-flying match between two men at the top of the UK game. Devlin is on a roll coming off his banger against Chris Ridgeway at Chapter 78 and is beginning to pick up major victories. Mandrews is on a downward spiral picking up loss after loss eventually leading to a breaking point storyline. The match itself here was nothing special but it was worked well and mixed technical and high-flying skills together decently well. 

Charlie Morgan and Nina Samuels vs. Laura Dimatteo and Jinny:

  • Most of Progress’ women’s division is wrapped up in this faction warfare feud that comes across as lazy booking. 
  • The match starts with a brawl. Jinny gets chucked into a pile of chairs from Morgan.
  • Running Huricanrana by Jinny takes Samuels down and follows it up with a corner dropkick for the first near fall.
  • Guillotine Choke by Jinny but Samuels deadlifts out into a vertical suplex to open up tags. 
  • Hot tag by Morgan. Swanton Bomb by Morgan for a near fall on Dimatteo. 
  • Tornado DDT by Dimatteo begins a sequence of big moves from all 4 ending with a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker by Samuels to Jinny and all are laid out. 
  • Double strikefest, DDT by Morgan on Dimatteo but Jinny makes a near fall save. 
  • Jinny makes a blind tag and hits a ripcord wheelbarrow kick to pin Samuels. 

Winners: Laura Dimatteo and Jinny @9:20

Rating: **, The lazy “lets put most of the women into one poorly booked feud” continues. This match wasn’t worked very cleanly and the faces didn’t put in a strong performance at all. The ending was awkward but the middle portion was okay and had a solid pace. Not much to say about this one, hopefully, Grace vs. Dawn delivers a good women’s wrestling match later in the show. 

Drew Parker vs. Jimmy Havoc:

  • Parker cost Jimmy Havoc a shot at the World Title at Chapter 78.
  • Acid Rainmaker by Havoc lays out Parker before the match even starts. 
  • Havoc grabs his ax but Spike Tremaine comes out to save Drew Parker. Chuck Mambo and William Eaver save Havoc from attack. Eaver takes out Havoc to turn heel. Chuck Mambo also turns heel by attacking Havoc and a 4-1 attack ensues. 
  • The match never starts.

Winner: Match Never Happens @0:00

Isla Dawn vs. Jordynne Grace:

  • Originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat with Millie Mackenzie but Mac is injured. 
  • Dawn keeps herself in control by continually kicking Grace down. Grace gets herself some space by hitting a Spinebuster.
  • Powerslam by Grace drops Dawn on her head and gets a near fall. 
  • Clothesline sequence by Grace but Dawn boots her off and hits a Saito suplex with a great show of strength.
  • Roll up sequence into a Half N Half suplex by Dawn for a near fall.
  • Double Knees in the corner followed up by a hard sliding elbow by Grace capped off with a Vader Bomb. Bearhug by Grace locked in and taps out Dawn.

Winner: Jordynne Grace @8:03 

Rating: ***1/4, A very good debut one-on-one in Progress for Grace and Dawn is intense and sells everything greatly like always. The match never really kicked into another gear but was a fun little women’s match that delivers something of note on a so far heavily lackluster show. The match was quick and not too much happened but it was fun while it lasted. 

Trent Seven Atlas Title Open Challenge:

  • Kyle Fletcher from Aussie Open is the challenger this time.
  • Mark Davis the other half of Aussie Open joins commentary.
  • Shoulder tackle sequence but Kyle Fletcher comes out on top.
  • Seven hits the Running Crossbody for a near fall calling back the move that retired Doug Williams in Wembley. 
  • Stiff chop by Seven makes Fletcher angry and he returns with a stiff chop of his own. Another hard chop by Seven and a final one by Seven knocks Kyle in the corner as Trent continues to strike away in the corner. Fletcher takes Seven down with a great springboard moonsault. 
  • Trent fake strikes out Kyle into a DDT and hits a series of moves into a Running Powerslam for a near fall. 
  • Figure 4 Leg Lock by Seven, Trent knocks him down with a chop. Kyle is nursing a knee injury coming into this match. Fletcher reverses the hold but Seven rolls the 2 to the ropes. 
  • Kyle and Trent fight on the apron, Seven hits a dragon suplex on the apron in a highlight spot.
  • Low Suicide Dive by Seven knocks Fletcher into chairs ringside, Fletcher runs back in the ring and dropkicks Seven off the apron. Tope Con Hiro off the top rope to ringside by Fletcher. “This is Progress” chants. 
  • German Suplex by Seven but Kyle runs and hits a Claymore Kick. Lawn Dart in the corner by Fletcher for a near fall.
  • Running Crossbody by Seven caught into a Michinoku Driver by Fletcher, a great spot for a near fall. 
  • Seven Starts Lariat by Trent for another near fall. Seven goes for the Burning Hammer but Fletcher takes out the injured leg of Seven to escape. Deadlift Sit-out Powerbomb by Fletcher goes for a great near fall. 
  • The 2 fight on the top rope, Insane super Dragon Suplex by Seven for an amazing near fall. 
  • Seven locks in a Figure 4 tapping out Kyle Fletcher. 

Winner: Trent Seven Retains @18:46!

Rating: ****1/2, This match spent almost the entire second half in top gear. These 2 pulled some insane tricks out of their sleeves and worked together very well. The Dragon Suplex off the top rope was crazy and Seven had his first legitimately challenging opponent 3 defenses in. The hard-hitting vs high-flying styles were present and these 2 turned a slow start into an incredible match. With NXT UK on the horizon, great Progress matches like these will become a rarity.

The Anti-Fun Police vs. Team Tremendous:

  • Team Tremendous is making their Progress debut. Dan Barry was in the really fun 10-man tag at PWG BOLA.
  • The huge Bill Carr and Santos stare down. Carr hits an insane huricanrana as a 300 pound plus dude flipping another 300 pounds plus dude.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Carr, Santos walks it off but goes to hug his tag partner, no fun Dunne, who tags in. Carr chops Dunne in the corner and he screams and goes to tag in Santos who pulls out a finger gun, Barry takes the finger gun from Santos but Dunne comes back and takes the finger gun, Carr ends up with the finger gun and the referee takes it away. All 4 pul out finger guns, amazing comedy stuff. They “shoot” one of the crew members who sell like he died. 
  • Dan Barry hits a suicide dive taking out Santos ringside, Team Tremendous regroup ringside and big ass Santos hits a suicide dive taking them out. 
  • Sidewalk elbow by Anti-Fun Police gets a near fall on Barry. 
  • Carr comes in and throws Dunne around like a rag doll, Santos comes in but Carr catches him with a Deep Six.
  • Anti-Fun police regroup ringside, Barry hits a great tope con hiro. Carr hits a tope con hiro plancha wiping out the Police what a great move for a huge dude. 
  • Wheelbarrow kick by Santos knocks Carr ringside, Police work on Barry and Santos hits a Sit-out powerbomb but Carr rag dolls Dunne into the pin breaking it. 
  • Strikefest from all 4 ends with a stiff lariat by Carr taking out Santos. Carr catches Dunne mid-air with a jumping Deep Six. Amazing Doomsday Sliced Bread for a near fall save by Santos.
  • Big Ending by Santos takes out Carr, Santos catches Barry with a uranage, 619 by Dunne and a Wheelbarrow Codebreaker by the Police pin Barry. 

Winner: The Anti-Fun Police @13:57

Rating: ***, This match was really fun however the wrestling itself was weirdly worked and awkward at times. This was similar to the PWG 10-Man Tag which is one of the best tag matches this year, however, the only similarity was the comedy stuff and big men doing moves they shouldn’t be able to do the PWG match had a lot better in-ring work and was absolutely frantic in the closing stretches. This was a solid comedy match that dragged on too long. 

Eddie Dennis vs. Mark Haskins:

  • Both men have been on really good runs as of late, Haskins had a MOTY contender with Bate at Chapter 75, a great match with Riddle at Wembley and another great match against Walter at Chapter 78. Dennis beat Mandrews in a great TLC match as is the current #1 contender for the Progress title. 
  • Suicide Dive by Haskins knocks Dennis out ringside, Haskins follows it up with another suicide dive on the other side of the ring.
  • Running Leg Lariat by Haskins takes Dennis out who was set up on a chair ringside. 
  • Diving Double Stomp by Haskins misses, Uranage by Dennis lays out Mark. 
  • Dennis is working the neck of Haskins and maintains control in the middle portion of the match. 
  • Haskins tries to kick down the long legs of Dennis but hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip to get back in the match. 
  • Crucifix Bomb into the corner by Dennis, Haskins fires back with a bicycle kicks but a stiff lariat by Dennis lays both out to end the mini-sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Dennis rolls up Haskins but Mark transitions into a Crossface, Dennis goes for the rope but Mark wrenches the hold. Eddie eventually grabs the rope.
  • Deadlift Deep Six by Dennis goes for a near fall. 
  • Crucifix bomb by Dennis gets rolled up by Haskins into a Landslide, great move sequence into a solid near fall. 
  • Deadlift Holding Superplex by Dennis into a successful Crucifix Bomb into the corner, Dennis hits a Next Stop Driver for an awesome near fall.
  • Sharpshooter by Haskins locked in, Dennis grabs the rope to escape. Haskins kicks Dennis and hits the Diving Double Stomp for a great near fall. 
  • Haskins goes for the Fujiwara but Dennis rolls it up to win. 

Winner: Eddie Dennis @15:56 

Rating: ***3/4, The match was a mediocre showcase of both men’s talents as they worked a pretty solid match together. The work was clean and the drama was high so there’s not much to complain about but this is yet another match on this show that hasn’t kicked into another gear. 

  • The newly formed faction of Chuck Mambo, William Eaver, Spike Tremaine, and Drew Parker attack both men after the match.

Travis Banks vs. David Starr:

  • The two brawl before the match, Banks cost Starr a match against Ilja Dragunov at Chapter 78.
  • Suicide dive by Starr wipes out Banks ringside. 
  • Banks fires back with a suicide dive of his own as the two continue to fight ringside. 
  • Travis Banks’ first Progress match since he lost the title to Walter a few months ago. 
  • Chopfest ringside ensues but Banks wins. Starr sets up back to back chairs. Banks hits a running PK off the apron so he can overhead suplex Starr through the set-up chairs. Great spot.
  • Strikefest in-ring gets intense with chops, Snapmare/PK combo by Starr takes Banks down but Travis fires back with a running knee to close the strike sequence. 
  • Snap German Suplex by Banks, near fall on the bridge. 
  • Stiff ass lariat by Starr knocks Banks out. 
  • Strikes from both men fire each other up, they both no sell german suplexes. They keep firing at each other but eventually both collapse to a standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • Rematch from PWG Neon Knights earlier this year which was a banger.
  • Shotgun dropkick by Banks into the corner, Travis hits a slingshot double stomp for a near fall. 
  • Banks locks in a sleeper, Starr plants Banks to escape and locks in a Crossface but Banks rolls him up to escape, Banks locks in his own crossface Starr deadlifts into a backbreaker to finally escape. 
  • Roll up sequence into a double stomp by Banks.
  • The 2 fight on the top rope but Starr falls, Diving Double stomp by Banks to the back of Starr for a near fall. 
  • Lariat by Starr catches Banks mid-air, Brainbuster over the knee by Starr for a near fall. 
  • Starr goes for his Han Stansen lariat but Banks catches him with an enzugiri to pick up an abrupt victory. 

Winner: Travis Banks @13:51

Rating: ****, Similar to their PWG encounter this match was a sprint with 2 men beating the crap out of each other. It was fun but not a Progress caliber main event and this show leaves me disappointed. 

Grade: C-

Last Word: This is my least favorite Progress show of the ones I’ve watched however Banks vs. Starr and Fletcher vs. Seven were quality. Progress has been on fire recently and takes a deserved break here, however, I believe NXT UK also plays a huge impact on this show being bad. WWE had picked up their biggest talents before this show leaving Progress in a moment of transition. It will be interesting to see how they write out the wrestlers leaving for the horrible big bad ‘E but Progress is currently in shambles but hopefully, Chapter 80 and 81 deliver next week. 

 

 

 

 

PWG Battle Of Los Angeles 2018 Finals Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Trevor Lee defeats Brody King @14:17 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Rey Horus @9:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Robbie Eagles @10:05 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/2
  • Joey Janela defeats CIMA @14:25 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***1/2
  • Walter defeats Jonah Rock @5:21 to move on to the Semi-Finals ***
  • Bandido defeats Flamita @10:57 to move on to the Semi-Finals ****1/4
  • The Rascalz defeats The Lucha Bros @11:15 to retain the PWG Tag Team Titles ****3/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Trevor Lee @0:18 to move on to the Finals N/A
  • Bandido defeats Joey Janela @14:27 to move on to the Finals *****
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Walter @17:24 to move on to the Finals ****3/4
  • Team PCO defeats Team DJZ in the Consolation Tag Match @18:23 ****1/2
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Bandido and Shingo Takagi to win Battle of Los Angeles 2018 @23:52 *****

Brody King vs. Trevor Lee Second Round:

  • Pre-Match heel promo from Trevor Lee, Lee calls out King for being a stereotypical atheist and Trevor calls himself the “God of PWG”. King attacks Lee starting the match. 
  • King lariats Lee to the outside and follows it up with a suicide dive attempt but Lee dodges, King comes to ringside to attack Trevor. King hits a chop to Trevor on a chair and then against the post. They fight deeper into the crowd but they come back and King hits the post chop again but misses sending his hand into the steel. 
  • Chokeslam by King sends Lee into the apron. 
  • Lee hits 4 apron Penalty Kicks followed by a cannonball to King ringside. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by Lee, King fights back with strikes of his own but Lee catches him with a dropkick and continues to dominate. 
  • Huricanrana attempt by King reversed into a powerbomb by Lee and Trevor continues to control the match. 
  • Stiff big boot by King begins the comeback sequence, King hits a huricanrana into a cannonball to Lee set up against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Lee bridges King to outside to try the dive but King rolls back in, Trevor adjusts and hits a moonsault to a standing Brody, near fall. Lee gets up and hits a Running PK for another near fall.
  • Strike sequence into a lariat by King flipping Lee gets a near fall.
  • Standing Double Stomp by Lee, very near fall. Lee inadvertently over-covers King getting Brody’s shoulder up.
  • Brainbuster by King followed into a Deep Six for a near fall. 
  • King seems to have a little bit of a back injury gained in his first round brawl against PCO.
  • While the referee is distracted, Lee hits a low blow and rolls up King for a great near fall. 
  • King goes for a running crossbody but Lee flips through into a pin getting the win and advancing. 

Winner: Trevor Lee Moves On! @14:17

Rating: ***1/4, This was a pretty solid brawl but suffered from King showing some effects from his banger against PCO leading to the match being worked slower and King lacking the fire and agility he always has. Trevor Lee was great though and carried most of the match. The end got very competitive and King began to fire up until Lee eventually beat him with the smart flip through finish. 

Rey Horus vs. Jeff Cobb Second Round Match:

  • A pop-up by Cobb reversed into a huricanrana by Horus, Rey begins the momentum. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop by Horus for the first near fall.
  • Cobb pops-up Horus and follows it up with a huge lariat.
  • Jeff beals Horus from corner to corner, follows it up with a stiff chop and beals Horus again for a near fall. 
  • Fallaway Slam/Standing Moonsault combo by Cobb for another near fall. 
  • Cobb catches Horus off the Swinging DDT and hits an Elevated F5, solid reversal spot.
  • Horus dodges Cobb sending him into the post, Springboard Dropkick by Horus sends Cobb to ringside. Springboard Plancha to the outside by Horus, Horus rolls Cobb in-ring for a near fall. 
  • Pop-Up by Cobb reversed into a Tornado DDT by Horus for another near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb by Horus misses, Cobb catches a Tornado DDT attempt and hits the Tour of the Islands Slam to win and advance. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves On @9:05!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a really fun sprint and was one of the shortest matches on the entire BOLA card but that wasn’t an issue. Jeff Cobb continues to do a great job as the hulking olympian and Horus did an amazing job of being the underdog luchador but eventually failing, The pace was worked very well and while it was nothing revolutionary it was a solidly good use of 10 minutes. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Robbie Eagles Second Round Match:

  • Eagles takes Shingo off the apron and hits a Tope Con Hilo through the ropes to Takagi outside.
  • A little bit of crowd fighting, Robbie sends Shingo into the post but Takagi ducks a kick sending Eagles’ leg into the post. 
  • Dragon Screw over the middle rope by Takagi and Shingo continues to work the leg. 
  • Strikefest, Shingo punches Robbie to the outside but Eagles rebounds and hits a leg lariat, Double knees in the corner by Eagles.
  • Standing Sliced Bread by Eagles for the first near fall. 
  • Diving 450 by Robbie misses, Shingo follows it up with a Dragon Screw again targeting the leg. 
  • Shingo goes for the Figure 4 but Robbie kicks him away, Takagi returns with a sliding lariat for a near fall.
  • Landslide by Eagles for another near fall.
  • Eagles tries to lariat Shingo down but Takagi catches him with a Death Valley Driver.
  • Made in Japan attempt fails, Leg Lariat attempt by Eagles misses and the Made in Japan hits for Shingo and an awesome near fall. Takagi comes back with a huge lariat for another awesome near fall. Standing Ovation from the crowd. 
  • Avalanche huricanrana by Eagles, Robbie follows it up with a 450 Splash but can’t immediately capitalize due to the knee and Takagi escapes a near fall. 
  • Great strikefest into a Pop-Up powerbomb by Takagi, near fall. Shingo transitions into an STF tapping out Eagles.

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @10:05!

Rating: ****1/2, Another amazing match in BOLA from Takagi. These 2 flew at each other for 10 minutes and delivered one of the top matches from the tournament. While Eagles took a step up here in facing a legitimate heavyweight while he was still a high flyer the dynamic worked really well and the pace kept up the entire time. Eagles delivered a performance of a lifetime and Shingo did a great job of working the leg and taking offense from Eagles. My one complaint about this match was that Eagles kept doing things with the injured leg he shouldn’t have been able to do like kick Tagaki with a step-up enzugiri or run around at 100 MPH like he did, I guess it isn’t really PWG’s style to go into full effect in selling an injury so that was just a minor gripe. 

CIMA vs Joey Janela Second Round Match:

  • The crowd is behind Joey Janela.
  • Slower more technical start.
  • Double knees in the corner by CIMA, CIMA hits a diving double knee to the back of Janela drapes against the ropes for the first near fall.
  • Janela throws CIMA to the outside and runs at him with a Diving Elbow off the apron. 
  • A little bit of submission wrestling but CIMA locks in an Indian Deathlock and Joey gets the ropes.
  • Diving Stomp by CIMA followed by a knee drop gets a near fall on Janela. 
  • Chop battle into an elbow strike by Joey knocking CIMA outside, Janela hits a great diving crossbody from the top rope to the outside wiping out CIMA. In-ring, Diving Stomp by Janela for a near fall. 
  • 2 Inverted Fisherman Busters hit by CIMA for another near fall. 
  • Meteora by CIMA hits off all the bottom and middle turnbuckles but Janela dodges the top rope Meteora. 
  • Super Fisherman Buster by CIMA followed up with a successful top rope Meteora for an awesome near fall. 
  • Superkick by Janela wins the match. 

Winner: Joey Janela Moves On @14:25!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a weird match up as it was a Japanese legend versus a dastardly American bad boy. The match started slow and felt like nothing happened in the first 5 minutes but eventually, it looked like they figured each other out and got it together for a great closing sequence. The match was worked at one of the slowest paces of the weekend but it just felt all the better when it picked up. The Super Brainbuster/ Meteora combo by CIMA that got an awesome near fall made me invested to the fact that either of these guys could’ve won. Unfortunately, it was given a bit of a dead spot after the awesome Eagles vs. Takagi match and the crowd only got into it for the final moments of the match. Joey Janela advances and I’m excited to see what else the bad boy can do in this tournament. 

Walter vs. Jonah Rock Second Round Match:

  • Jonah Rock attacks Walter before he can get in the ring and Rock continues to fight with Walter in the crowd but Walter fights back. Rock spears Walter into the post and rolls back in-ring. 
  • Superplex by Walter lays both out and the match is officially started.
  • Big Boot/Stiff Lariat combo by Walter lays out Rock. 
  • Strikefest but Walter wins with a brutal chop. 
  • DDT by Rock to escape the Sleeper Hold attempt from Walter gets the first near fall.
  • Bodyslam by Walter followed up with a Bonsai Drop gets a near fall. Samoan Drop by Rock knocks Walter down.
  • Uranage/Senton/Brainbuster combo by Rock gets another near fall. 
  • Rock goes for a moonsault by Walter rips him off the middle rope with a German Suplex. 
  • Rock goes Roman Reigns and hits a Superman Punch and tries a spear but Walter hits him with a big boot to stop it. 
  • Walter hits a Sleeper Hold to weaken Rock and transitions into a powerbomb for the win. 

Winner: Walter Moves On @5:24!

Rating: ***, I was really excited for this match as it should’ve been 2 Super Heavyweight clubbing the shit out of each other. Instead, it was a little bit of brawling and a quick win by Walter. Rock got some offense in but neither men had the opportunity to shine in a match that should’ve been a Match of the Tournament Contender. 

Flamita vs. Bandido Second Round Match:

  • This should be an absolute lucha classic. Two tag team partners who have had amazing years should tear this house down. 
  • The crowd is very excited before the match even starts.
  • Show of respect in a hug before the match. 
  • Bandido isn’t taken down by a shoulder block and flosses, Flamita flosses as well. Fortnite is quite a game, isn’t it? The referee flosses too and gets a huge pop.
  • Double big boots take both men down.
  • Both men springboard to each other from different sides of the ring and go into a stare down. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl huricanrana by Flamita reversed the Angle Slam attempt by Bandido. 
  • Chop Battle on the apron, Flamita hits a DDT on the apron. Amazing Shooting Star Press off the apron by Flamita taking out Bandido ringside. 
  • Bandido dropkicks Flamita off the apron and follows it up with a super elevated Tope Con Hiro. 
  • Flamita catches Bandido in mid-air with a dropkick for a near fall. 
  • Great sequence in the corner into a Muscle Buster Lung Blower by Flamita for another near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver by Bandido but Flamita hops back up and hits a Shining Wizard Kick to take both out. 
  • Fast chopfest, Flamita rocks Bandido with a right hand. Superkick by Flamita. Standing Spanish Fly also by Flamita for a near fall. 
  • Tiger Driver by Flamita knocks Bandido down for the 450 Splash by Flamita getting another near fall on Bandido. 
  • Inverted GTS/Sit-out Powerbomb combo by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Bandido attempts to hit a Tilt-A-Whirl but Flamita catches him with a German Suplex and gets a very near fall. 
  • Pop-Up Mid-Kick by Bandido followed up with a Springboard German Suplex for the win. 

Winner: Bandido Moves On @10:57

Rating: ****1/4, While there is a tad bit of disappointment that these two didn’t go absolutely crazy this match was still very fun. These 2 are some of the best luchadores in the world currently and maybe all-time and they can work a very fast pace while hitting insane moves very cleanly. The crowd energy was off the charts and I was fully ready for a five-star match and while I didn’t get that the product was very entertaining. These 2 did some moves I’ve never seen before like Bandido’s insane Tilt-A-Whirl Piledriver or Flamita’s Muscle Buster Lung Blower. The Springboard Staredown was also an awesome moment and this was a showcase on how far Lucha Wrestling has come. 

The Rascalz vs. The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr and Fenix) for the PWG Tag Team Titles:

  • Rascalz took the masks of Feniz and Penta and are mocking their ring entrances.
  • Xavier and Pentagon start the match.
  • The mocking from Rascalz continue through the opening stages of the match and is great comedy stuff. 
  • Stiff chop by Penta after he takes off the glove, Xaver takes off his glove and returns the favor. 
  • Another Lucha Showcase on our hands. 
  • Slingblade by Penta, Xavier returns the favor with one of his own. Double Cero Miedo taunts and both men tag the wrong person confused on who’s who. This is great. 
  • Fenix Wents and the actual Fenix face off. 
  • Great sequence from Fenix and Wentz trying each other’s moves with Wentz hitting Fenix’s signature Hopscotch Huricanrana. 
  • The Lucha Bros unmask Wentz and Xavier so the games finally stop.
  • Stereo Superkicks by The Rascalz send the Lucha Bros ringside for stereo suicide dives, Lucha Bros come back in to hit Stereo Tope con Hiros. 
  • Great Sequence of kicks from all 4 men all get taken down. 
  • Corner Dropkick by Wentz to Fenix sends him all the way to ringside. 
  • Tandem Stomp Combination by The Rascalz to Penta gets a near fall. 
  • Great Rebound Roundhouse/Superkick Combo by The Lucha Bros into the Wheelbarrow Splash getting a near fall.
  • Diving Stomp/Powerbomb Combo by the Lucha Bros, near fall on Xavier. 
  • Amazing Backspring Elbow attempt by Xavier caught with a Superkick by Fenix, Wentz hits a cutter on Fenix, Penta hits a Canadian Destroyer on Wentz. Awesome Sequence.
  • 619 around the post by Xavier to Penta.
  • Diving Stomp/Package Piledriver combo on the apron by the Lucha Bros to Wentz. In-ring the same move hits on Xavier and Fenix hits a suicide dive to Wentz ringside to stop him from making the save. Amazing near fall. 
  • Swanton Bomb/Sky Twister by Rascalz to Penta, Fenix comes into make the save but Xavier moves out of the way and Fenix hits a Swanton accidentally to Pentagon. 
  • Assisted Moonsault by The Rascalz to Fenix closes the match.

Winners: The Rascalz Retain @11:15!

Rating: ****3/4, This was almost what I expected Flamita vs. Bandido to be. An absolute lucha classic. These guys flew around the ring and hit insane spots like I expected them to. Sometimes it is hard to be shocked at these guys doing INSANE things when the Stronghearts vs. Horus, Flamita, and Bandido main event of Night 2 resembled this match. However, The Diving Stomp Piledriver on the apron by the Lucha Bros is one of the most brutal tag moves I’ve ever seen. Also, The Rascalz pretending to be Penta and Fenix in the early stages was hilarious. Of the 3 DVD’s this match is in my Top 3 favorite matches so far. It was just all around good time and it was also really hard again to take notes on because these guys were always doing something crazy. 

Jeff Cobb vs. Trevor Lee Semi-Final Match:

  • Trevor Lee tries to deliver another pre-match promo but Cobb stops him with a series of suplexes.
  • Tour of the Islands by Cobb puts Trevor Lee away in under 20 seconds advancing Jeff to the finals.

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves to the Finals @0:18

Rating: N/A, Jeff Cobb is positioned as an unbeatable monster going into the finals and Trevor Lee gets his mouth shut after trash talking his way through the tournament. Good stuff even though there was no match. Cobb puts away one of the favorites to win the tournament and PWG shocks the audience in attendance. 

Bandido vs. Joey Janela Semi-Final Match:

  • Both had amazing showings at All In, the same month that BOLA happened. 
  • Handshake showing respect before the match gets going. 
  • Great mini-sequence from the 2 but Janela shuts it down after rocking Bandido with a stiff jab.
  • Handstand by Bandido to escape a lariat but Janela superkicks him down. Snap Suplex by Joey follows for the first near fall. 
  • Crossbody by Bandido to Janela against the ropes sends him ringside, Bandido fires at him with a suicide dive.
  • Amazing Corkscrew Dive by Bandido takes out Janela set up on a chair ringside.
  • Strikefest on the apron, Janela hits a Death Valley Driver on the apron and follows it up with an Inverted DDT on the apron. Bandido took rough landings on both. In-ring, Janela goes for a pin but gets a near fall. 
  • Amazing Diving Tornado by Bandido for a near fall.
  • Super Brainbuster by Janela gets a great near fall on Dido. 
  • Janela brings in a chair, Janela sets Bandido up on the chair but Bandido superkicks him back. Bandido hits an awesome springboard German Suplex into the chair, one of my favorite spots of the year and gets another great near fall almost putting Janela away. 
  • Joey dodges Bandido flying from the top but catches him on the ground with a superkick, near fall. Janela superkicks Bandido again but Bandido kicks out at on and fires up. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Bandido gets yet another great near fall. 
  • More chairs brought in the ring by Bandido, and fans help Bandido make a pile of chairs. Superkick by Janela sends Bandido into the pile of chairs.
  • Janela sets up a chair bridge, they fight on the top rope above the bridge but Bandido gets the upper hand. Amazing Backflipping Fallaway Slam off the top rope by Bandido sends Janela into the chair bridge and closes the match. 

Winner: Bandido Moves on the Finals @14:27!

Rating: *****, This was insane and one of the most fun matches I’ve ever seen. These dudes went crazy and the extreme American style mixed perfectly with the insane lucha libre of Bandido. The match involved spots that I would never think of and Excalibur on commentary sold each near fall like crazy. I was really invested in who would win while being absolutely shocked at what they were able to pull off. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite match from this year’s tournament as it wasn’t just Lucha Flips or Hard Bumps but it was an investing encounter with the crowd hot as hell. 

Shingo Takagi vs. Walter Semi-Final Match:

  • This will be hard-hitting, to say the least.
  • Shoulder tackle battle but Walter tries to grab in the sleeper but Takagi breaks free, Big boot by Walter knocks down Takagi.
  • Stuff chop by Shingo but Walter escapes a counter strike and hits a shoulder block to finally take Walter off his feet.
  • 4 consecutive elbow drops all from different heights by Takagi ending with one of the top rope for the first near fall.
  • Strikefest, Walter sends Takagi to ringside. A brawl ensues ringside, Walter hits a big backdrop sending Takagi into the apron. Walter rolls Takagi in the ring for a near fall. 
  • Walter stands on the neck of Takagi over the top rope sending Takagi down to the apron, Walter is beginning to dominate this match. 
  • Shingo unsuccessfully tries to bodyslam Walter but eats a vertical suplex by Walter instead. 
  • Walter clubs Shingo in between the ropes Sheamus-Style but a lot harder, Shingo falls to ringside. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Takagi takes Walter down and gives him space. 
  • Takagi displays a lot of strength and hits a vertical suplex to Walter.
  • 3 Consecutive lariats in the corner by Shingo, Takagi dodges a dropkick by Walter and capitalizes with a sliding lariat but Shingo can’t capitalize for the pin. 
  • Saito Suplex attempt by Shingo but Walter shifts his weight to fall directly on Shingo. 
  • Hard lariats by Takagi but Walter hits a hard boot/German Suplex combo and follows it up with a very stiff lariat for a near fall.
  • Stiff strikes sent by both men, horrible chop by Walter and the crowd literally screams. Jesus Christ. “Holy Shit” chants from the stiffness of the chop by Walter. 
  • Saito Suplex by Takagi is finally successful but only gets a 2 count/ 
  • Made in Japan attempt by Takagi, Walter escapes but Takagi lariats him in the corner. Walter runs at Takagi and hits a dropkick, follows it up with a powerbomb but transitions the pin into the Boston Crab. Walter transitions into a very wrenched in STF but his grip breaks to just let Takagi out of the hold.
  • Walter strikes at a kneeling Takagi but Shingo fires up and hits an insane Death Valley Driver on Walter for a great near fall. 
  • Uranage by Walter plants Takagi and gets another near fall.
  • Chops by Walter but he maintains wrist control to hit a consecutive chop but Shingo breaks free and hits a flurry of lariats but Walter chops back. Shingo hits a final lariat to pick up a shock win. 

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @17:24!

Rating: ****3/4, This match was a technical showcase very similar to the Walter vs. Timothy Thatcher match from Night 2. However, this match brought the fire from Shingo Takagi playing a great underdog and firing up to shake off Walter’s strikes and pick up the shock win. Walter has been established as an absolute monster and Takagi had finally slain him and the crowd lost their minds. The finish also protects Walter from looking weak because it wasn’t definitive and moved very fast. The stiff strikes in this match were mostly nothing compared to the strikes in the Thatcher vs. Walter match however the absolutely disgustingly hard chop by Walter got genuine screams from the crowd and was a hard moment to watch for a second. Walter played the hits but Takagi really shined here. Takagi in the finals versus the other BOLA MVP Contender Bandido and the monstrous olympian Jeff Cobb will be interesting to watch. 

Team PCO (Darby Allin, Dan Barry, Puma King, PCO, and Jody Fleisch) vs. Team DJZ (David Starr, DJZ, Timothy Thatcher, T-Hawk, and Adam Brooks) Consolation Tag Match:

  • David Starr does the awesome pre-match intro but Darby Allin interrupts him. 
  • DJZ and Puma King start the match. 
  • Solid mini-sequence from King and DJZ feeling very lucha-technical. DJZ brings more of the air horn sound effects.
  • Amazing corkscrew springboard armdrag by DJ to King. 
  • Avalanche Headscissors by King to DJ followed by a diving crossbody. 
  • King dropkicks DJ to ringside but Starr stops the dive to heel heat. 
  • Starr superkicks King to ringside but chooses to go after Darby Allin instead of hitting the dive. 
  • Allin and Starr face-off, another good mini-sequence. Capped off by a counter stunner by Allin taking out Starr. 
  • Good sequence by Fleisch and Hawk with Jody trying hard to escape the chops. 
  • Triangle Kick by Brooks to Dan Barry in the ropes for the first near fall. 
  • Strike-off from Thatcher and PCO. 
  • Allin tries to Coffin Drop Thatcher but Thatcher catches him in the Sleeper and places him in the Tree of Woe, Team DJZ wipes Team PCO off the apron and hits a 4-way dropkick to Allin in the corner.
  • Dan Barry goes 5-1 and pulls out a finger gun and takes out the other team. Amazing comedy stuff. PCO puts the finger gun in his mouth, Brooks grabs the finger gun from Barry and shoots PCO. PWG is fun.
  • Canadian Destroyer by Allin to Hawk, Starr breaks the pib,
  • Brooks tries to go for the dive but PCO revives and stops Brooks. Pop-up powerbomb by PCO to Brookes. Puma King and PCO tandem take out Brooks. King and PCO throw DJZ into diving out on everyone. Brooks comes back to attack King and PCO with a chair. Starr joins him and it looks like their gonna dive off the chairs but they sit on them and taunt. Dan Barry hits a great corkscrew tope and Allin hits a Coffin Drop to the outside. Puma King powerbombs DJZ into the sea of people outside and King hits a tornado dive to everyone. Jody hits an amazing Springboard Shooting Star Press dive to everyone, PCO hits a diving moonsault taking everyone out. One of the best dive sequences I’ve ever seen. 
  • PCO rolls Starr to the other side and tries to dive out but Starr catches him with an apron DDT. PCO grabs Starr in a Tombstone and PCO chokeslams DJZ and Hawk at the same time that he piledrives Starr. 
  • Brooks hits an awesome super Canadian destroyer to PCO. 
  • Jody Fleisch hits an awesome 720 tornado DDT to Brooks. Thatcher lariats Jody out. Thatcher gets Dan Barry in the sleeper hold but PCO hits a Swanton Bomb to help Barry escape but it fails so PCO pins Thatcher over Barry to win the match anyway. 

Winners: Team PCO

Rating: ****1/2, This was genuinely the most fun 10-Man tag I’ve witnessed. It had the great PWG charm to it and every wrestler who got knocked out in the first round got a chance to shine on Night 3. PCO especially. The Dive sequence was absolutely insane and these dudes tore the house down while being absolutely hilarious. I don’t think a wrestling match has made me laugh more than this one. The in-ring work was great too as BOLA gets some of the top talents from across the world for this tournament so big deal wrestlers like David Starr, Darby Allin, Adam Brooks, Timothy Thatcher, and DJZ were thrown in there with comic relief guys like PCO, Puma King, and Dan Barry. It was a fun mix of work rate and comedic relief and the best 10-man tag I’ve seen in November, yeah I’m talking to you Survivor Series. 

Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi Final Match:

  • The match goes by Elimination Rules. 
  • Everybody shakes hands. 
  • Strike tandem sequence by Shingo and Bandido takes Cobb ringside, Takagi elevates Bandido for an elevated Tope con Hiro to Cobb ringside.
  • Chain Superplex led by Cobb powerbombing Shingo who superplexes Bandido. 
  • Shingo and Bandido team up to hit a vertical suplex on Cobb. Shingo suckers in Bandido with a handshake but ends up rocking him with a right hand.
  • Hard Superkick by Bandido to Cobb gets the first near fall. 
  • Superkick/Death Valley Driver combo by Takagi and Bandido takes out Cobb.
  • Springboard Crossbody by Bandido takes Shingo out.
  • Bandido tries to get his opponents to floss with him but neither do, Shingo hits a DDT/Flatliner combo on Cobb and Bandido. 
  • Widow’s Peak Facebuster by Takagi on Cobb, Hugle lariat by Shingo but Cobb rolls ringside to avoid pinfall. 
  • Shingo takes Bandido to the top rope, Bandido hits the awesome Flipping Fallaway Slam to put away Shingo and ruin his BOLA 2018 hopes. Proved to be a fatal mistake for Takagi taking Bandido to the top. 
  • Bandido and Cobb face-off and they handshake. 
  • Bandido works the leg of Cobb but Cobb spins Bandido across the ring by his mask, brute show of strength. 
  • Stiff uppercut by Cobb flips Bandido.
  • Cobb brings Bandido to the top rope and hits a vertical superplex to bring Bandido back down and get a near fall. 
  • Cobb beals Bandido across the ring and begins to dominate the match. 
  • F5 by Cobb gets a near fall on Bandido. 
  • The crowd is really behind Bandido. 
  • Diving Tornado by Bandido caught by Cobb, Jeff goes for Tour of the Islands but Bandido turns it into a Tornado DDT. Cobb rolls to ringside. Bandido hits a flying huricanrana off the apron. Cobb looks to have hurt the shoulder that he separated at All In. 
  • Deadlift Piledriver by Cobb, near fall. Jeff pops up and hits a standing moonsault for another near fall. Crows standing ovation and more love for Bandido. 
  • Springboard flying Huricanrana by Bandido caught into Tour of the Islands for an amazing very close near fall, one of the best near falls of the year.
  • Pop-Up powerbomb by Cobb turned into a huricanrana by Bandido, great reversal. 
  • Strikes by Bandido but Cobb goes for Tour of the Islands, Bandido turns it into the Crucifix Bomb and gets another amazing near fall. The crowd is so invested. Now the crowd is showing love for Jeff. 
  • Amazing Springboard Bouncing German Suplex by Bandido with an amazing show of strength for another amazing near fall and another crowd explosion. 
  • Thudding chop by Cobb to get Bandido off, Jeff Cobb is acting a bit hurt and probably really is. 
  • Bandido and Cobb fighting on the top rope, Cobb knocks Bandido down and dives at him. Bandido catches it and hits his own Tour of the Islands for another great near fall and following crowd explosion. 
  • “Fight Forever” Chants and actually please do. 
  • More fighting while on the top rope, Cobb hits a super Tour of the Islands and follows it up with another one to win the 2018 BOLA.

Winner: Jeff Cobb WINS the Battle of Los Angeles in 2018 @23:52!

Rating: *****, The crowd energy was intense. The match started to seem like the men were wasted in the early stages and wiped out from the weekend. Shingo Takagi and Bandido tried to attack Cobb together and the early stretches were okay but as soon as Takagi left things got unglued. The crowd was hot for Bandido as he played the perfect babyface and as Cobb and Bandido traded big move after big move and put on an amazing in-ring match but the crowd made it something special. The explosions after each near fall were intense and going in I knew Cobb was going to win however this match made me forget that as I was rooting like crazy for Bandido. Jeff Cobb is an insanely great wrestler too and it takes 2 to tango and this was the tango to top them all. What a match and what a tournament, probably the greatest wrestling tournament of all time. 

Show Grade: A+, PWG had a bit of a down year this year so far with only Matt Riddle vs. Keith Lee from Neon Knights being a top tier match. I loved this show so much and it is probably the final to my favorite wrestling tournament of all time. PWG took big-name star power from people like Jeff Cobb, Walter, Shingo Takagi, Ilja Dragunov, and especially Bandido to boost and promote this show. The tournament was stacked from top to bottom with fantastic matches. It also helped the tournament tremendously that Bandido and Joey Janela had amazing showings at All In which reeled me into buying this show on DVD. Bandido and Joey Janela put on a 5-star classic on this show but somehow the main event completely overshadows it. Bandido is a maniac, he had 2 5-Star matches in the same fucking night!!! Not to mention the other amazing matches such as Shingo Takagi vs Robbie Eagles, Shingo Takagi vs. Walter, Bandido vs. Flamita, Rascalz vs. The Lucha Bros and The Consolation Tag Match. This all happened in one night. Other than maybe NXT Takeover NOLA and NJPW Dominion this is my favorite wrestling show of the year. This show is so much more impressive than Dominion and Takeover though because the same few wrestlers put on multiple instant classics in a single night. WHAT AN EVENT! If you haven’t heard of PWG or haven’t bought the DVD yet, go out of your way for this epic (despacito) night of professional wrestling. 

MOTN: Bandido vs. Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles 2018 Review: Night 2

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Trevor Lee defeats Marko Stunt to move on to the Second Round @9:05 **1/2
  • Jonah Rock defeats Sammy Guevara to move on to the Second Round @12:13 ****
  • Robbie Eagles defeats DJZ to move on to the Second Round @12:04 ***3/4
  • Jeff Cobb defeats Darby Allin to move on to the Second Round @9:48 ****1/2
  • Shingo Takagi defeats Ilja Dragunov to move on to the Second Round @16:22 ****3/4
  • Walter defeats Timothy Thatcher to move on to the Second Round @18:04 ****3/4
  • Stronghearts defeat Bandido, Rey Horus, and Flamita @11:47 ****3/4 

Trevor Lee vs. Marko Stunt First Round Match:

  • Originally supposed to be Chris Brookes in the place of Marko Stunt (Brookes is of Progress fame) but he is sidelined with an injury. Trevor Lee’s 5th BOLA.
  • Marko Stunt had a breakout performance in the All In “Over Budget” Battle Royal. Stunt is making his PWG debut and gets an amazing crowd reaction with the crowd throwing in fun size candy bars because his nickname is Mr.Funsize because he’s like Hornswoggle height.  
  • Trevor Lee cuts a heel promo on the size and age of Marko, Stunt takes the microphone and says “but I’m old enough to fuck your mom”. Great comedy stuff. 
  • Stunt bridges Trevor to the outside, Marko hits a great flipping huricanrana to Lee ringside. 
  • Stunt follows it up with a Swanton Bomb off the apron to Lee on a chair. 
  • Lee shoves the referee into the ropes dumping Stunt off the top rope. 
  • Huge Lariat by Lee flips Stunt. Lee continues to methodically attack Marko.
  • Single Handed Gorilla press into a Gutbuster by Lee continuing to dominate. 
  • Huricanrana by Marko seems to get him some space but Lee fires him back with an uppercut. 
  • Stunt reverses a Brainbuster in mid-air with a huricanrana spiking Lee, great mini-sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Lee slaps Marko down. Marko fires back up and hits a Sunset Flip Rolling V-Trigger.
  • Marko hits a Tilt-A-Whirl Codebreaker to get a great near fall. 
  • Lee pops up Marko but Stunt lands on the middle rope, Marko goes for a 450 but Lee dodges. Superkick by Marko. 
  • Standing Double Stomp by Lee closes the match.

Winner: Trevor Lee Moves On @9:05!

Rating: **1/2, This match while it was fun to see Marko mess around felt like it went on way too long. Marko wasn’t ever a serious threat but it was fun to see some of the flips and agility he put on display. Stunt was a last minute replacement for Chris Brookes so the fact that he put on such a fun showing is impressive. The match didn’t have any drama or urgency to it and it should’ve ended faster than it did but it wasn’t bad for what it was. 

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Sammy Guevara vs. Jonah Rock First Round Match:

  • Both men in their second BOLA. Sammy Guevara is replacing an injured Travis Banks. 
  • Sammy backflips over Rock to escape him which is cool but he’s still caught with a vertical suplex from Jonah. 
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Rock knocks down Sammy. Backdrop by Rock gets extra elevation. 
  • Sammy shows an impressive amount of strength and hits a Samoan Drop for a near fall.
  • Guevara sweeps Rock off the top rope and says he’s about to put a boring rest hold on Rock and plugs his Youtube Channel.
  • Switch-Up into a DDT by Rock followed up with an elevated German Suplex getting a near fall on Rock. 
  • Uranage/Senton Combo by Rock gets another near fall. 
  • Guevara V-Triggers Rock off the apron, Guevara hits an awesome corkscrew tope taking out Jonah ringside. 
  • Sammy goes up to the balcony, Awesome Moonsault off the balcony by Sammy takes out Rock below. 
  • Shooting Star Press misses, stiff lariat by Rock turns Sammy inside out and lays both men. 
  • Strikefest, Sammy flips through a lariat into hitting a superkick. Canadian Destroyer by Guevara lays out Rock so he can hit the Shooting Star Press, great near fall. 
  • Powerbomb into the Guillotine choke by Rock, Sammy Guevara taps out. 

Winner: Jonah Rock Moves On @12:13!

Rating: ****, While the match started slow it really picked up and delivered big time. Sammy turned in a great performance with his amazing agility and the balcony moonsault and Rock did what he does best which is be an imposing monster and hit really hard. The match only got a little bit tarnished by what was a slow start and both men playing to the crowd for what felt like forever. Great match and it felt fresh compared to Night One, the Americanized style mixes with risky high flying spots and the submission finish worked this match in a different way than Night One’s hard-hitting Japanese/European Style encounters. 

bola10Robbie Eagles vs. DJZ First Round Match:

  • Robbie Eagles just after this fought as Taiji Ishimori’s tag partner is the Super Jr Tag Tournament in NJPW. DJZ’s first PWG match. Robbie Eagle’s BOLA debut. 
  • Fast Start. DJZ gets an air horn sound effect which gets a huge pop from the crowd. 
  • Leg Lariat by Eagles knocks DJZ to ringside, DJZ comes back in before Robbie can dive. The 2 do a great matching sequence.
  • DJZ goes to dive through the ropes but gets strung up which was kind of a botch, Eagles hits a Vertical Suplex ringside. 
  • DJZ charges at Eagles ringside sending him into a chair. 
  • Fallaway Slam Bridge by Eagles gets the first near fall.
  • Another Air Horn Sound Effect as DJZ flies at Eagles with a back elbow. 
  • Moonsault by DJZ to Eagles draped over the middle rope. 
  • Stiff chops in the corner by DJZ, DJZ goes for a Sunset Flip roll up by Eagles does a great reversal by rolling into a roll-up of his own. 
  • Reverserana by DJZ spikes Eagles on his head.
  • Death Valley Facebuster by DJZ followed up with a lariat but Eagles kips up and hits a series of kicks, DJZ kips up and both strike-off. DJZ lariats Eagles over the top rope and hits a great Tope con Hiro. Eagles comes back in and hits a Suicide Dive.
  • Springboard Dropkick by Eagles targets the knee of DJZ. 
  • Deadlift Ulster Plantation by Eagles gets a near fall. 
  • DJZ catches Eagles into a Tombstone and follows it up with a Flying Snap DDT for a great near fall. The arena is so shocked that Eagles kicked out that the lights went off.
  •  Avalanche Huricanrana by Eagles followed up by a 450 on the leg of DJZ. Eagles locks in an Inverted Figure 4 to tap out DJZ. 

Winner: Robbie Eagles Moves On @12:04!

Rating:***3/4, This was a really fun high flying match. While not all of the work was clean, the pace kept great and the air horn sound effects and the crowd making their own versions was great unintentional comedy stuff. For some reason the lights go out towards the end of the match, that was weird. DJZ delivered a great performance and similar to PCO it is a shame we won’t get to see another match from him because they’re both from companies I don’t get around to watching. However, Robbie Eagles is becoming a break out star with more time in New Japan and performances like this one will keep him in the mainstream.

bola8Jeff Cobb vs. Darby Allin First Round Match:

  • Darby Allin’s PWG debut, Jeff Cobb’s 3rd Battle of Los Angeles appearance.
  • Cobb absolutely chucks around Allin, Allin tells the crowd to be quiet and calls for a test of strength with Cobb. Amazing flying arm drag by Allin sends Cobb to ringside. 
  • After a while of dodging Cobb, Allin finally hits the Suicide Dive. In-ring, Cobb shrugs off a crossbody from Allin. Cobb beals Allin across the ring into the other corner. 
  • Stiff clubbing strike in the corner by Cobb, Allin tries to strike at Cobb but Jeff gets him back in the corner and hits a hard chop. German Suplex by Cobb lays out Allin. 
  • Pop-Up Sledgehammer by Cobb slams Allin down, Jeff Irish whips Allin hard into the corner.
  • Cobb deadlifts Allin from the apron and chucks Darby from a waistlock across the ring. Cobb hits an F5 getting a standing ovation from the crowd and a near fall. 
  • Cobb overhead suplexes Allin brutally into the corner, Allin jumps over Cobb and shotgun dropkicks him into the corner. Allin hits a comeback sequence and torpedoes off the middle rope onto Cobb for a near fall. More crowd standing ovation.
  • Amazing coffin drop by Allin to Cobb ringside, in-ring Alin goes for a lionsault but is caught by Cobb and hits a stunner to escape. Canadian Destroyer by Allin for a near fall. 
  • Diving Coffin Drop in-ring by Allin, another great near fall. Allin heads to the top again and tries to Coffin Drop Cobb on the apron but Cobb dodges and Allin falls spine first on the apron, German Suplex off the middle rope by Cobb closes the match. 

Winner: Jeff Cobb Moves On @9:48!

Rating: ****1/2, This is easily my favorite match of the 2 nights so far. Both men turned in fantastic performances but especially Darby Allin. Allin was crazy in this match hitting the Coffin Drop off of everything but having the move eventually cost him the match. Cobb did an amazing job as the brute in this match, making Allin have to work really hard to take him down. These 2 had great chemistry and the dynamic was perfect. These matches all feel really long because of the absolutely packed layouts they have but my one complaint about this match is it could’ve gone longer. The crowd was insanely invested and with Evolve being secretly part of WWE now I would love to see Allin have performances like this in NXT. 

bola2-1Ilja Dragunov vs. Shingo Takagi First Round Match:

  • Ilja and Shingo teamed in the Main Event last night. Both men are in their BOLA debuts.
  • Stiff chop against the ropes by Takagi but Dragunov returns the favor. A sequence of evenly matched moves into the senton by Ilja.
  • Dragunov hits a suicide dive to Takagi ringside. 
  • Death Valley Driver by Takagi, Ilja tried to hang onto the ropes but that made the impact even harder.
  • Shigo dominates for a bit, Ilja tries to strike back but Shingo hits a two-handed chop blasting Dragunov back down. Senton by Takagi for the first near fall. Dragunov gets back up and tries to strike but collapses. 
  • Sit-Out Powerbomb off the middle rope by Dragunov, Shingo rolls away from Ilja to escape the pin.
  • Crucifix Roll up by Dragunov gets a near fall.
  • Strike Sequence by Shingo ending with a stiff lariat knocks Dragunov down. Snap Brainbuster by Takagi for another near fall. 
  • Made In Japan attempt from Shingo fails, Strikefest turns into stiff chops from both and an enzugiri from Dragunov knocks down Takagi for another near fall. 
  • Dragunov goes to the top but Shingo rolls away, Ilja hits a Coast to Coast Dropkick across the ring and follows it up with a Blue Thunder Bomb, near fall.
  • Top Rope headbutt battle into a superplex by Takagi, Takagi aggravates the lower back that was hurt on the Sit-Out powerbomb earlier.
  • Elbow strikes by Shingo collapse Ilja, Dragunov fires up and the 2 lariat each other hard as fuck. Saito Suplex by Ija but Shingo fires with an exploder suplex. Lariat by Shingo but Dragunov hits a Rebound Lariat and gets a near fall. Diving Senton by Ilja for a very very near fall. INCREDIBLE sequence. 
  • Catching Death Valley Driver by Takagi, Corner Lariat and a botched German Suplex by Shingo goes for a near fall.
  • Made in Japan by Shingo fails again, Dragunov hits a series of strikes into a DDT/Dropkick combo. Shingo catches Dragunov running and hits Made in Japan for an awesome near fall. 
  • Another huge lariat by Takagi followed by another Made in Japan. 

Winner: Shingo Takagi Moves On @16:22!

Rating: ****3/4, Okay just as I said the last match was my favorite match from BOLA so far this goes and tops it. This match was intense and hit really hard. Dragunov is incredible he’s one of the cleanest working, hardest-hitting, and best selling wrestlers I’ve ever seen. Shingo Takagi was pretty good too. The match itself had a lot of awesome near falls and for the first match, tonight didn’t rely heavily on dives which was refreshing. This match was just two heavyweights hitting the crap out of each other and moving faster than they should be. The bumps were hard and the crowd was into it at the end. In the beginning, the crowd was exhausted from the night of action but the work in this match lit a fire in the Globe Theatre. 

bola7Walter vs. Timothy Thatcher First Round Match:

  • Rematch from Progress Chapter 62 which was a fantastic match. Walter is the current PWG champion. These 2 are part of Ringkampf. The second BOLA for both men. 
  • Thatcher refuses to handshake Walter.
  • Very technical start as would be expected.
  • Bow and Arrow Stretch by Thatcher transitioned into a roll up but Walter kicks out at 1. 
  • Stiff clubs by Walter into a sleeper hold attempt that fails, Thatcher catches Walter off the big boot and transitions into a Boston Crab. Thatcher mounts Walter and slaps him hard, Thatcher tries to get into the Cross Armbreaker but Walter keeps the hands together, Walter brutally stomps on the head of Thatcher to escape. Walter hits 2 brutal Penalty Kicks to the back of Thatcher.
  • Walter has been striking extra brutally in this match. 
  • Brutal chop into a hard boot to the face by Walter knocking out Thatcher, JESUS.
  • Stiff elbow strikes from both men but Walter knocks out Thatcher again with the stiffest elbow strike. 
  • Walter clubs Thatcher while he’s strung up in the ropes, Sheamus-Style but much harder. Thatcher catches the 3rd one and elbow strikes Walter, Walter puts Thatcher over the top rope and steps on his neck bending him over the top rope. 
  • Brutal Chop by Walter again knocks Thatcher down, Walter hits another one but Thatcher ducks the 3rd one and jabs Walter down with a right hand. 
  • The match goes to the outside as they continue to hit each other way too hard. Vertical Suplex ringside by Thatcher sends Walter hard into the floor. 
  • Brainbuster on the apron by Walter, Thatcher has taken SOOO much in this match. 
  • Saito Suplex attempt by Thatcher but Walter collapses himself onto Thatcher in a cover for a near fall.
  • German Suplex and Saito Suplex by Thatcher for another near fall. 
  • Clubbing lariat into a powerbomb by Walter, near fall. 
  • Strikefest into a German suplex by Walter.
  • Fujiwara Armbar locked in by Thatcher, Thatcher transitions into a sleeper but Walter powers out. 
  • Thatcher locks in the sleeper again, Walter climbs the turnbuckle and backdrops onto Thatcher from the middle rope. 
  • Uranage by Walter for another near fall. 
  • Another stiff lariat by Walter wins the match.

Winner: Walter Moves On @18:04!

Rating: ****3/4, This match hit harder than any other match I’ve ever seen. However, it lacked the drama that the Walter vs. Thatcher match from Progress had. I liked this match more though because it was just such a hard-hitting affair. These 2 absolutely beat the shit out of each other for close to 20 minutes and it was a hard watch. The match was insanely technical and that was a new style we haven’t seen in the 2 nights so far. The crowd is exhausted and that was felt a bit in this match but this also wasn’t a match to be super loud about. It was a fight, a genuine fight and one of the more convincing wrestling matches I’ve seen. Walter is on a tear in 2018 and just continues it here. 

Bandido, Rey Horus, and Flamita vs. STRONGHEARTS (Desmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and CIMA):

  • Wentz and Flamita start the match. The match goes Lucha Rules so tags aren’t made. 
  • Bandido hits a Diving Crossbody taking out Xavier, Tilt-A-Whirl Huricanrana by Bandido sends Xavier ringside. 
  • The Rascalz and Bandido and Flamita face-off, rematch from Neon Knights earlier this year which was an incredible match. Both teams hit the Floss but also hit double superkicks taking out everyone. 
  • Fast sequence from Horus and CIMA, CIMA suplexes Bandido while having Flamita in the Indian Deathlock. 
  • Diving Codebreaker by Wentz takes out Horus.
  • Wheelbarrow by Bandido assists Flamita into moonsaulting Wentz, awesome spot. 
  • Wentz dives off the back of CIMA to the outisde, Xavier follows and hits an awesome Sasuke Special diving out everyone. 
  • Dive Sequence by the Stronghearts to Bandido, Bandido kicks out at one and fires up but it met with stereo superkicks by the Rascalz. 
  • DDT on the apron by Flamita to Xavier, hard landing. 
  • Horus hits a Tornado off the top rope to ringside, Bandido pops up Flamita for the elevated Tope Con Hilo to outside, Bandido hits an awesome Diving Corkscrew. Awesome dive sequence.
  • Pop-Up Tornado DDT by Horus helped by Bandito, 450 Splash by Flamita on Xavier gets a near fall.
  • Amazing backhandspring Pele kick by Xavier to Horus, Fantastic springboard german suplex by Bandido to Xavier gets a near fall. Eruption from the crowd. 
  • Strike Sequence in the corner by Stronghearts into a Meteora by CIMA for another near fall. Amazing Moonsault by Wentz, Xavier pushing it onto Bandido gets the win. 

Winners: Stronghearts @11:47!

Rating: ****3/4, I could never actually describe how this match went. Taking notes on it was really hard. These 2 did moves I’ve never seen before and topped all of the flippy shit I’ve ever seen. This was like if the All In main event didn’t have to end early. This was really fun and was worked shockingly well for how much these guys were doing in such a short amount of time.

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: Night 2 had something for every wrestling fan. The show had intense brawling, crazy flips, technical wrestling, and established characters. BOLA has been stacked this year and has delivered some of the best wrestling all year. The finals will be insane. This show had a lot of matches that were really close to 5 stars but the only missing component was a storyline. In the finals, there will be that story so my hopes are really high for a 5-star match. Regardless of star ratings, there were 3 fantastic matches to close the show and PWG establishes itself as one of the best wrestling companies in an in-ring standpoint in the world. What a show!

MOTN: Shingo Takagi vs. Ilja Dragunov

 

 

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Battle of Los Angeles Review: Night One

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Results + Star Ratings: 

  • Rey Horus defeats Adam Brooks to move on to the Second Round @20:33 ***1/2
  • Flamita defeats Puma King to move on to the Second Round @12:07 ***3/4
  • CIMA defeats Jody Fleisch to move on to the Second Round @16:29 ***
  • Bandito defeats T-Hawk to move on to the Second Round @12:21 ****1/2
  • Joey Janela defeats David Starr to move on to the Second Round @16:01 ****1/2
  • PCO defeats Brody King to move on to the Second Round @11:15 ****
  • Ringkampf defeats Ilja Dragunov and Shingo Takagi @22:18 ****1/4

 

Adam Brooks vs. Rey Horus First Round:

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  • Brooks’s first-ever BOLA, Horus fought in last years. Horus is also Dragon Azteca Jr in Lucha Underground. 
  • Pretty evenly matched opening to the match. The first speed up comes in a roll-up battle. 
  • Awesome hopscotch arm drag by Horus in the corner. 
  • Horus kicks Brooks off the top rope to the outside and hits an awesome Tope Con Hiro over the post to the outside taking out Adam. 
  • Great single leg dropkick by Horus to Adam sitting down for the first near fall.
  • Brooks slingshots the rope into the face of Horus, an interesting move for another near fall. 
  • Apron Penalty Kick and a Back Drop onto the apron by Brooks. In-ring Brooks hits a senton and does a cocky cover on Horus. 
  • A slower pace than normal for both of these guys in the first ten minutes. 
  • Springboard Crossbody by Horus misses, Shotgun Dropkick by Brooks sends Horus into the corner for a near fall. 
  • Cheeky Nandos Eye Poke by Brooks gets Adam some great heel heat. 
  • Great Kickfest and Horus knocks down Adam first.
  • Brooks hits a Canadian Destroyer but Horus gets up and slams Adam with a Spanish Fly taking both down ending a solid sequence. 
  • Strikefest, Brooks smashed Horus with a dropkick that sends him outside. Brooks hits an amazing suicide moonsault over the top rope. In-ring Brooks hits a Tornado DDT for a near fall. 
  • V-Trigger in the corner by Brooks. 
  • Brooks deadlifts out of a huricanrana but Horus flies over and hits a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for another near fall. 
  • STO into the corner by Brooks, Brooks gets Horus on the top rope and slams him with an enzugiri. 
  • Horus goes for a 450 Splash but misses, Brooks goes for a Swanton Bomb but Horus gets his knees up. Good missing dive sequence. 
  • Horus flips into an Indian Deathlock torquing the knees of Brooks, Adam gets the bottom rope. 
  • Horus hits Brooks with a stiff chop on the top rope and goes for a wheelbarrow takeover but Adam stops it. Horus goes for a supercanrana but Adam brutally powerbombs him off the top rope, a hard landing for Rey. 
  • Kiwi Crusher by Brooks, great near fall. 
  • Back on the top rope, Horus hits an awesome wheelbarrow Takeover to win the match. 

Winner: Rey Horus Moves On To The Second Round @20:33!

Rating: ***1/2, This was a great high flying encounter with some ridiculous spots as you would come to expect from PWG. The match was a solid opener for the tournament and sets a tone for the great night of action to come. The match moved really well and both men worked very cleanly which often isn’t the case in a big risk big flips match like this. 

bola5Puma King vs Flamita First Round:

  • Puma King is in his PWG debut here, Flamita fought in BOLA last year losing to the eventual winner Ricochet. 
  • Very fast start into a stare down.
  • Huricanrana by Flamita sends Puma to the outside, Flamita hits a Suicide Dive followed by a Tope Con Hiro.
  • Diving Crossbody by Flamita hits, King smacks Flamita down with a Superkick. 
  • Stiff chop against the ropes by King, Flamita fires back with a handspring elbow and a standing shooting star press combo.
  • Roll up battle into double dropkicks and both stare down again getting a Standing Ovation from the crowd.
  • Stiff chop battle, Big move sequence and a superman punch by Flamita knocks down King ending a very solid sequence. 
  • Codebreaker by King and a snaprana sends Flamita to the outside, Diving Crossbody by Puma to the outside. Missile Dropkick by Puma to Flamita sitting down in-ring for a near fall.
  • Fly-over Sunset Flip Powerbomb by Flamita gets another near fall.
  • 450 Splash by Flamita hits for yet another near fall. 
  • Monkey Flip by King sends Flamita into the corner, Great Pendulum Powerbomb by Puma, great near fall. 
  • Supercanrana out of the Tree of Woe by King, Flamita pops back up and hits a Spanish Fly for another near fall. 
  • Top Rope Pendulum Powerbomb by King reversed into a Supercanrana by Flamita.
  • Flamita knocks Puma down with a superkick and hits a Pheonix Splash to win the match.

Winner: Flamita Moves On @12:07!

Rating: ***3/4, Puma King is really impressive and he does a lot of moves in this match that a man his size shouldn’t be able to do. This was my first exposure to PK and I was impressed although slightly weirded out at his whole Act Like a Cat persona. Flamita is one of the best luchadors in the world right now. The match was impressive however had some very similar spots to the match right before it and was at a weaker pace with less drama. Without context, this match is a good outing for both men that was a very entertaining lucha clash. 

bola4CIMA vs. Jody Fleisch First Round:

  • CIMA making his 3rd BOLA appearance, including his victory in 2007 beating El Generico(Sami Zayn) and Roderick Strong. Jody’s debut in PWG.
  • Very clean double leapfrog dropkick by Fleisch. 
  • Double Dropkick sequence into a stand-off. 
  • Both men playing to the crowd for a bit and doing a pretty solid comedy segment about avoiding each other’s strikes. Handshake but CIMA delivers a lariat. 
  • Enzugiri by Fleisch sends CIMA to the outside, Jody hits an awesome springboard moonsault off the apron taking out CIMA on the floor. 
  • Fighting into the crowd, Amazing springboard off the wall by Fleisch taking out Cima with a moonsault. Really impressive show of athleticism. 
  • Sunset Flip Roll up by Jody starts a roll up battle that rolls around the ring, getting a great crowd response. Dizziness starts to take over as all 3 including the referee feel the effects. A double lariat takes both down. 
  • Double Stomp by Cima to the chest of Fleisch, Cima locks in an Octopus Lock and transitions it into a crucifix roll-up for a near fall.
  • Inverted Ulster Plantation by Cima followed up with a Frog Splash but Fleisch gets his knees up.
  • Step-up Huricanrana by Jody to Cima on the 2nd rope for a near fall.
  • Great corkscrew springboard DDT by Fleisch for another near fall.
  • Jody misses a Shooting Star Press but lands on his feet, Backstabber by Cima. Cima hits an Air Raid Crash for yet another near fall. 
  • Meteora by Cima closes the match. 

Winner: Cima Moves On @16:29!

Rating:***, Other than the awesome springboard off the wall by Jody this match never got going in comparison to the 2 before it. 3 minutes of the match time was spent playing to the crowd. Fleisch turned in a very impressive performance but Cima didn’t really impress me all that much and this is my first time watching either. The match was pretty good for the closing stretch but also was given a bit of a dead spot after 2 very good matches before this. 

bola3

T-Hawk vs Bandido First Round Match:

  • Bandito’s first Battle of Los Angeles. 
  • Stiff chop by Hawk knocks Bandito down early. 
  • Springboard Crossbody followed by a Superkick by Bandito.
  • Brutal chop by Hawk knocks Bandito off the top rope, enzugiri by Bandito stops a suicide dive by Hawk. Bandito hits a great moonsault off the post to the outside. 
  • Hawk catches Bandito in mid-air with a stiff knee strike. 
  • Another brutal chop by Hawk slams Bandito down. 
  • Irish Whip by Hawk but Bandito collapses from the damage so far, near fall by Hawk. 
  • Repeated chops while keeping wrist control followed up by a Snap DDT by Hawk for another near fall. 
  • Great Tornado Dive by Bandito begins to fire Bandito back into the match. 
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Bandito. Another stiff chop by Hawk and Bandito returns with a bicycle knee. Landslide by Hawk hits. Bandito fires back with a dropkick in the corner to end the solid sequence.
  • Chop battle, Bandito fires up. Bandito’s chest is covered with welts. Rapid Fire Chop Battle now. Hawk hits a Pop-up Powerslam for a near fall. Hawk’s chest is also red as hell.
  • Deadlift by Bandido into a backbreaker, Hawk fires back with a Stiff Lariat. 
  • Amazing Spanish Fly Fallaway Slam by Bandito off the top rope to move on.

Winner: Bandito Moves On @12:21!

Rating: ****1/2, This match hit hard as hell. T-Hawk is an incredible striker and Bandito’s chest got messed up by the end. These 2 threw everything at each other strike-wise and it was an awesome match that kept it’s tight pace through it’s short runtime. Bandito turns in another great showing in 2018 and this match was a very fun watch. The 2 were very evenly matched but Bandito picked up the win with his awesome flipping fallaway slam finisher. 

bola2David Starr vs. Joey Janela First Round Match:

  • Both have had very solid 2018s. Starr has done his best work in Progress while Janela had an amazing Street Fight with Hangman Page at All In. This is Starr’s first BOLA. Janela’s 2nd BOLA losing last year to Sammy Guevara in the first round. 
  • Janela fires up early.
  • Stiff chops by Janela, Starr hit a chop of his own in the corner. Janela knocks Starr down with a chop but Starr fires back with a chop knocking Joey down. 
  • Starr chops Janela so hard he flies into the crowd.
  • Strikefest, elbow strikes by Janela knock Starr into the corner.
  • Supercanrana by Janela takes Starr off the top rope, Janela hits a Diving Elbow Drop and Tunes up the Band in the corner, Starr catches a superkick sweeps the leg and hits a Shining Whizzer Knee Strike for a near fall on Janela. 
  • Stiff chop again in the corner by Starr, Starr gets distracted by the crowd and Janela hits a series of chops in the corner. Starr rakes the eyes of Janela and hoists him onto the top rope. Starr chops Janela off the top rope onto the apron. Janela gets Starr draped over the top rope and hits a brutal reverse DDT on the apron taking out Starr. “Holy Shit” Chants, in ring near fall.
  • Stiff strikefest a rebound lariat by Starr ends the sequence.
  • Elbow strike by Castle sends Starr to the outside, a suicide dive by Joey is stopped with an apron DDT by Starr. Canadian Destroyer by Starr rolled through by Janela and Joey smacks Dave with a superkick. 
  • Another stiff strikefest, Starr rolls into a Cloverleaf Submission, Janela gets the bottom rope after a while in the hold. 
  • Great Suicide Dive by Starr, Janela fires back with a suicide dive of his own, Starr hits another suicide dive and then another one to take out Janela. Janela comes back and hits a great Flipping Senton Dive taking Starr out ringside. Starr hits a running plancha dive to finally end the dives. Great dive sequence.
  • Starr trips over the middle rope getting in the ring opening the opportunity for Janela to hit the Package Piledriver and get a great near fall on Starr.
  • Saito Suplex onto the ropes by Starr followed by a huge lariat and a brainbuster, near fall by Starr. Starr hits a superkick and gets another near fall. Near fall roll up by Janela. 
  • Another strikefest caps off with a Superkick by Janela for the win. 

Winner: Joey Janela Moves On @16:01!

Rating: ****1/2, This is the most Americanized match of the night and another absolute banger. Like the previous match, this match hit hard but the highlight of this match was the Reverse DDT on the apron by Janela and the insane dive sequence. These guys have great chemistry and I have yet to see a bad David Starr match. Starr ramps up the momentum in the closing stretches of a match like few other wrestlers I’ve seen and that happened again here with a very tight closing sequence. These 2 put on a brutally fun encounter. 

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PCO vs. Brody King First Round Match:

  • PCO making his PWG debut and Brody King making his BOLA debut. 
  • PCO sends Brody to ringside and hits a great suicide dive absolutely flying for a man of that size/age. Brody King comes back with a Tope Con Hiro. 
  • Great leaping huricanrana by PCO, this old dude can FLY. 
  • Stiff chops by King, PCO returns the favor and a chop battle ensues.  
  • King hits a cannonball to PCO against the ropes for the first near fall. 
  • DDT by PCO hits and lays out King, Back Drop by King evades a running PCO and King follows it up with a cannonball in the corner. 
  • Impressive Moonsault by King, near fall.
  • Lariat by King takes both men down, Stiff strikes sent from both men. PCO hits a chokeslam and gets a very near fall. 
  • Stiff elbow strike into an insane leaping moonsault by King. Brody follows it up with a Piledriver but can’t immediately capitalize so PCO kicks out at 1. 
  • Pop-Up Powerbomb by PCO followed by a running knee strike that lays out King. 
  • Insane Diving Senton by PCO to King on the apron. PCO goes to the other post and hits an insane moonsault but misses and lands draping himself over the top rope intense botch, OUCH. PCO heads back again to hit another freakin moonsault and gets a near fall. 
  • Crucifix Piledriver by King closes the match.

Winner: Brody King Moves On @11:15!

Rating: ****, These super heavyweights did more impressive acts of agility than you would ever expect them to. PCO was an absolute beast and Brody King worked cleanly. Even though PCO wasn’t exactly both-free he took the moonsault miss like he wasn’t phased and went and hit another one. PCO’s thing is that he isn’t human and he genuinely acts like it. 

Ringkampf (Walter and Timothy Thatcher) vs. Ilja Dragunov and Shingo Takagi Non-Tournament Tag Match:

  • Ilja Dragunov in his first American Wrestling Match. Shingo Takagi joins Los Ignorables in NJPW just after BOLA finished. Walter is the current Progress and PWG champion and one of the best wrestlers in the world. Thatcher’s pretty good too.
  • Thatcher and Dragunov start the match. 
  • Walter and Shingo Takagi both tag in and standoff to a great crowd reaction. 
  • Ilja Dragunov hot tags in and stands off with Walter. Leapfrog Big Boot by Walter knocks Dragunov. 
  • Single Leg Boston Crab by Thatcher to Ilja, Thatch transitions into an STF but lets go of the hold to strike at Dragunov. Ilja takes Tim down and hits a senton for the first near fall.
  • Shingo goes to attacks Walter who’s not the legal man and Walter comes in and rocks Shingo with a big boot.
  • Senton Sequence by Dragunov and Takagi, near fall on Thatcher. 
  • A sequence of Belly to Belly suplexes by Tim open up the tag to Walter.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Walter to Ilja, Walter continues to isolate Dragunov from making the tag. Gutwrench suplex by Tim to Dragunov but Shingo comes in to make the save from the pin. Dragunov chops Walter, Walter rocks him and then steps on his neck draping him over the top rope. Walter hits a final incredibly hard chop and gets another near fall on Ilja.
  • Saito Suplex by Ilja to Thatcher finally opens up tags, Takagi gets in for the hot tag. Takagi delivers a Flatliner/DDT combo taking out Ringkampf simultaneously. 
  • Shingo lariats Walter but Walter is asking for more, Walter trips Takagi into the Boston Crab, Dragunov chops Walter to end the hold. Walter rises up and absolutely rocks Dragunov with a chop. Takagi takes down Walter with a huge lariat.
  • Walter catches Dragunov with a stiff lariat for a near fall. 
  • DDT by Ilja taking out Walter, Dragunov follows it up with an enzugiri for another near fall. 
  • Discus Lariat by Dragunov counters Walter and gets yet another near fall. 
  • Torpedo Moscow attempt by Dragunov caught into a sleeper by Walter, Stereo Sleepers by Ringkampf. Strike Sequence by Takagi and Dragunov takes out Walter and gets another near fall. 
  • Big Boot/German Suplex/Uranage combo by Walter rocks Dragunov. Standing Ovation from the crowd and both men make tags.
  • Strikefest from Thatcher and Takagi, Widow’s Peak Facebuster by Shingo. 
  • Powerbomb/Uppercut by Ringkampf takes out Shingo, Dragunov leaps over Walter to break the pin with a leg drop. 
  • Stiff chop by Dragunov to Walter starts a chop battle, Walter knocks Ilja down but Dragunov fires back up and the chop intensity increases. Dragunov knocks Walter with an enzugiri and hits a Suicide Dive taking out Walter ringside. 
  • Made in Japan by Shingo to Thatcher for an awesome near fall. 
  • Dragunov and Thatcher strike off, Walter suplexes his own partner in order to geet Dragunov over on the German Suplex. Shotgun Dropkick by Walter to Shingo but Takagi fires back with a Death Valley Driver. 
  • Dragunov has a Fujiwara Armbar locked in and Thatcher gets a roll up to win the match for Ringkampf. 

Winners: Ringkampf @22:18!

Rating: ****1/4, Another match that hit brutally hard and this time it was between 4 international stars. This was a very technical tag match but had a lot of very exciting moments. The creativity in how to blast your opponent with the hardest strike got very high towards the end and as always Walter was great. Ilja Dragunov makes his American Debut and a week after BOLA finished up he had an amazing match with Pete Dunne in his Progress debut so Ilja has been making big moves the past few months. Shingo Takagi had his first exposure to me in this match and even though him and Thatcher kind of took a backseat to Ilja and Walter’s performance they both shined on a smaller stage than what they are used to. While this wasn’t the MOTN, it was a very good hard hitting match but it lacked some of the drama that a tournament match would’ve had. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: While I’m watching this show on DVD a few months after it happened because my DVDs just arrived in the mail, the matches on this card have made a rumble in the wrestling world and for good reason. This 7 match card only had 3 matches under 4 stars and this is just Stage One. The drama will increase and so will the pure talent level as the tournament goes on. The MOTN, in my opinion, is Joey Janela vs. David Starr as it felt fresh and delivered riskier spots than just chopping the shit out of each other. There were so many chops on this show that by the Main Event it seemed like the move had no more prestige. This show delivered some bangers and set the tone for the 2 nights of BOLA to come.